Wait for Chapman Valley Show so worth it

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Gabrielle, 8, and Donny Mincherton, 5, at the Chapman Valley Show.
Camera IconGabrielle, 8, and Donny Mincherton, 5, at the Chapman Valley Show. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken

The home of the Chapman Valley Show is just 26km from Geraldton, usually a half-hour trip by car.

But on Saturday, that journey took up to an hour as about 10,000 people descended on the Nanson Showgrounds for the 71st Chapman Valley Show in picture-perfect sunny conditions.

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Like most agricultural shows and social events, the Chapman Valley Show was axed last year because of COVID-19, with the two-year wait adding to the excitement and build-up.

Traffic was backed up for kilometres for what was billed as “the first big community celebration post-tropical cyclone Seroja”.

Even Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan had to join the queue.

Labor MPs Shelley Payne, Alannah MacTiernan and Lara Dalton at the 2021 Chapman Valley Show.
Camera IconLabor MPs Shelley Payne, Alannah MacTiernan and Lara Dalton at the 2021 Chapman Valley Show. Credit: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian

“When you’ve got a one-road access, what are you going to do?” Chapman Valley Agricultural Society secretary Liz Eliott-Lockhart said.

“As a volunteer base, we were extremely stretched.”

A bumper crop yield promised tough competition for produce prizes, and Les Jupp rose to the occasion, winning the second Perpetual Cup on the trot for the Jupp family.

All eyes, however, were on the equestrian events, in which 11-year-old schoolgirl Leilani Witt won the Queen Elizabeth II trophy.

Sideshow Alley at the 2021 Chapman Valley Show.
Camera IconSideshow Alley at the 2021 Chapman Valley Show. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken

Organisers pulled out all the stops, building new facilities and installing a wi-fi tower to enable coverage for stall holders.

“People don’t realise what it takes to put on an event that big ... it was $3500 for traffic management alone,” Ms Eliott-Lockhart said.

Even with the wait at the gate, many food vendors had sold out by the end of the day, signalling a very successful comeback for the show, and the community.

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