The Spirit of The Ekka

On the way home from school, Miss 10 was talking about things she was learning at school including the history of The Ekka (the Brisbane Exhibition / Royal Queensland Show).

The conversation with my daughter stirred my own curiosity, and I refeshed my own historical understanding.  In true Queensland style, the word exhibition in Brisbane Exhibition was shortened to Ekka.  And we don’t think of it as anything else!


1876: The first exhibition in Brisbane was held at Bowen Park in 1876

1877: The first ride was a merry-go-round

1919: First time the show had to be cancelled due to an influenza outbreak (it was also cancelled in 1942 due to World War II)

1984: The first firework display in the main arena

1926: The first night time program was held following the introduction of electric lighting

1950: Strawberry ice-cream & dagwood dogs were introduced.

1964: The animal nursery introduced

2000: Wood chop event redeveloped

Random fact: The first showbag was a bag of coal! Apparently so!

* Information via ‘Showtime— A History of the Brisbane Exhibition’ by Joanne Scottand Ross Laurie, 2008.

The Heart

The original intent of the Brisbane Exhibition was to promote and encourage newly invented agricultural and industrial devices. Cattle and other farm animals were also exhibited during the show, a practice that continues today. But the heart, the heart is this: The Ekka provides “a unique opportunity for country and urban residents to come together in a celebration of Queensland lifestyle”¹. I love that!

My favourites

My favourite things about The Ekka: the strawberry ice-cream and the exhibits. I love all the exhibits: food; animals; everything!  I loved the Ekka as a child and now I enjoy sharing that love with my own children. It’s about Brisbane, it’s about community; it’s about this wonderful state we live in called Queensland.

Strawberry Ice-cream Sundae

According the Ekka website, approximately 10 tonnes of strawberries are used to make the Ekka Strawberry Sundaes each year. The Ekka Strawberry Sundae is mouth-watering top to bottom, from the crunchy wafer cone to the smooth white ice-cream, sweet chopped strawberries, delicious gourmet strawberry ice-cream, swirls of fresh cream and topped off with a tasty fresh Queensland strawberry.  Profits help fund research to find cures and save lives.

The Spirit of The Ekka in Pictures

One year while visiting the Ekka, I made a point of capturing the essence I could see through photographs.  Here they are:

The EKKA - Brisbane Show - Train The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show Birds at the EKKA The EKKA - Brisbane Show - Rides The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA Showbags The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show - animals Cattle at The Ekka The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA Blimp at The Ekka The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show The EKKA - Brisbane Show

Taking Kids to Crowded Places

 EKKA 2011

The husband and I took the kids to the EKKA (aka The Brisbane Show) for the first time last weekend.  One of the reasons why we haven’t ventured out to the show with our children before is, well…because taking four children to a heavily crowded event is a nightmare challenging.

Now the kids are more independent, we decided to attend the annual show this year. I have so many fond childhood memories of the EKKA and was excited to share this experience with my kids.

Below are some of the ways I prepare for a long, busy, crowded day out.

1. Pack

I always take food supplies wherever I go because buying food for our family costs a fortune! We did buy treats while we at the EKKA (because the food is part of the experience!) but the majority of supplies I bring with me. This is what is typically on my list:

  • Cut sandwich
  • Apple
  • 2 x packets rice crackers
  • Water bottles for each person
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wipes
  • Change of underwear (for the little one)
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen

I keep everything in a backpack because it’s easy to carry around. It’s also a good idea to take strollers to use a pack-horse, even if the kids are older. In a few years, when we don’t have strollers anymore, I will probably get everyone to take their own backpack to carry supplies.

{first taste of fairy floss — ever!}

fairy floss at the ekka

2. Safety

Safety weighs heavily on my mind when taking children to crowded places. Below are steps I take to ensure my children’s safety.

i) Write my mobile number in pen somewhere hidden on my child’s body, under a sleeve or jumper if possible. You can buy id wrist bracelets for this purpose also.

taking children to crowded places

ii) In the (unlikely) case one of my children does get lost, I’ve instructed them to stay still, and I will come and find them.  The worst thing they can do is walk around trying to find me.

iii) Talk to my children about staying close at all times and remind them that Mum and Dad are there to give them a fun day, and we can do more things as a family if they follow the simple rules.

iv) Dress my younger children in bright clothes. When we were at the EKKA, it was easy for me to spot the bright red hat on my son so I could make sure he was with me all the time.

taking kids to crowded places -- wear bright clothes tip

3. Plan

While we didn’t have a fixed plan for the day, it did help to have a general guide in what to do, and where to go. To help plan out the day, we checked the relevant website, picked up a map to take with us, and many large events have their own iPhone app too which is helpful. Things I particularly look out for are toilets and eating areas.

I also have a flexible guide in my head about what we plan to buy for the kids so I’m not influenced to get everything we see. The children were allowed to choose 2 showbags (which we decided before we went to the show).

4. Enjoy!

The only thing left to do was to enjoy the day! And we did! Sure, it was a big day, but it went surprisingly smoothly.

Do you have any more tips for taking kids to crowded places?

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