Royal Adelaide Show on track for return of competitions, crowds in September

'Solid entries' received for 2021 Royal Adelaide Show

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Organisers are committed to holding the 2021 show over nine days from September 4 to 12.

Organisers are committed to holding the 2021 show over nine days from September 4 to 12.

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Plans are "well on track" for the 2021 Royal Adelaide Show to open in five weeks, according to general manager Michelle Hocking.

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Plans are "well on track" for the 2021 Royal Adelaide Show to open in five weeks, according to general manager Michelle Hocking.

Yesterday the Royal Agricultural Society of Vic announced it had made the devastating decision to cancel the Royal Melbourne Show for the second consecutive year due to "ongoing constraints challenges and risks associated with holding major events with free roaming crowds during the COVID pandemic", but Ms Hocking says the organisers of the Adelaide show are determined it will not meet the same fate.

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She says Adelaide- due to be held a fortnight earlier than Melbourne was - will make a return unless the state is in another lockdown, but crowd numbers will be dependent on the level of restrictions.

This year's show is scheduled to run for nine days instead of 10 from Saturday, September 4 until Sunday, September 12.

"All but a couple of the 50 competitions have closed and we have had good solid entries, probably down 20-25 per cent compared to 2019," she said.

The Schools' Merino Wether competition has set another record with 74 teams entered from across the state.

Sheep entries are down just 4 per cent on 2019 from 1591 to 1584, and beef cattle entries down 17pc at 441 compared to 537 in 2019, while dairy cattle entries are down 6pc to 717.

The biggest drop off in livestock entries is in the goats with 343 compared to 566 at the last show.

A record number of entries have been received for the 2021 Schools Merino Wether Competition.

A record number of entries have been received for the 2021 Schools Merino Wether Competition.

Ms Hocking says the Society are constantly in conversation with SA Health but their current COVID Event Management Plan allowed for crowds of up to 50,000 people a day.

"It will continue to be updated as it needs to be but at this stage we haven't been told we can't have 50,000," she said.

"Since the lifting of lockdown we haven't had any new cases so it is looking positive, but we will work to the restrictions and if we need to reduce it to 35,000 or even less we will - whatever it takes.

"We are absolutely committed to putting on a show."

Admission tickets will all pre-sold and purchasers will need to nominate the day they wish to attend but Ms Hocking said members would have the flexibility to come and go across the show's duration.

Over next couple of weeks the society will closely,monitor border restrictions with about 20 per cent of exhibitors from interstate.

Any of the show sections heavily reliant on interstate competitors, such as woodchopping, could become an exhibition event, Ms Hocking said.

"We have been meeting with our committes and convenors and in some sections where we had interstate judges, especially from NSW we are making sure we have qualified local judges that at the 11th hour could be engaged," she said.

Ms Hocking said competitions had always been "first and foremost" for the Royal and were a key part of the show dating back to the show's charter in 1837 which was to encourage the growing of food for the new colony.

"In 2020 we still held a few competitions and the Elite Ram Sale, Adelaide Merino ram sale and schools wether competition but with the equivalent of Level 4 we were under 1000 people so had no members of the public," she said.

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" I have everything crossed for the next five weeks that we will be able to have crowds again and we are certainly planning for that but whatever happens we want to have our competitions.

"Two years without a show would be too long."

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