The 2023 Royal Queensland Show, or as it is more commonly known the Ekka festival, kicks off this weekend. For 142 years the EKKA has been Queensland’s largest annual event, bringing together hundreds of thousands of visitors to celebrate Queensland agriculture.
Since the first show in 1876, the event has continued to serve as an important bridge between rural and metropolitan Queensland, captivating those from all walks of life with a range of animal shows, entertainment events, competitions, and food – such as the iconic Ekka strawberry sundae.
In an era where the origins of our food are often overlooked, the Ekka reminds us of the hard work and dedication that go into sustaining our modern lives. The event is as educational as it is fun, especially for young people in the city who get a rare glimpse into country life.
The Student Made Cheese Competition, for instance, offers young people a chance to immerse themselves in agricultural production, while attractions such as the long running animal nursery, offer them up close experiences with farmyard animals.
The event hosts over 13,000 competitions annually, offering a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on Queensland agriculture, with the sector showcasing the best of the best across a range of industries including horticulture and nursery, livestock, poultry, and more.
Beyond these agricultural competitions, the event also celebrates broader aspects of country life and culture with quilting, cake decorating, country music, whip cracking and bush poetry events. Many of these events offer some form of participation, with an accompanying range of educational workshops.
By recognising and awarding the achievements of agricultural producers and regional Queenslanders, the event not only honours a dedication to crafts and specialist knowledge that has been refined for decades, but also inspires the next generation to carry forward Queensland’s agricultural legacy.
Drawing substantial crowds, the Ekka makes a significant economic contribution. Beyond its direct contribution to the local economy – which averages an estimated $100 million through tourism, hospitality, and employment, it also highlights the critical role of agriculture in Queensland’s economic landscape, reminding metropolitan crowds that agriculture is not only a source of livelihood in the regions but is in fact a core pillar of the state’s economy and our everyday lives.
The Ekka has made an indelible and ongoing mark upon Queensland culture, shining a spotlight on the excellence of Queensland agriculture and what it brings to our economy, communities, history, and the future for our state. It is these things precisely that make the event a success, year after year.
Many of us have enduring memories of our first trip to the Ekka show with many more memories to be made in the coming week, as city and country come together to celebrate the resilience, innovation, and passion that makes Queensland agriculture so successful.