CROWD numbers for the first day of the Warrnambool show appeared to be up on last year as the 159th show began under threatening skies yesterday.
Bursts of pouring rain and howling wind weren’t enough to dampen the carnival atmosphere at the showgrounds, with people of all ages enjoying the sideshow rides and displays scattered around the arena, partocularly during breaks of afternoon susnshine.
Agricultural society manager Mike Farrow said on observation, it appeared more people had made their way through the gates despite the poor weather conditions.
“It’s looking good so far,” Mr Farrow said.
“A few more of the public schools have given students the day off which has helped.
“At this early stage, we appear to be on track for a much better year, compared to the previous two which have been absolute disasters,” he said.
Mr Farrow said the agricultural society had also offered a discount to school groups who didn’t have the day off, to try and encourage them to organise school excursions close to home.
“There are a few school groups getting around today which is great to see,” he said. Mr Farrow said he believed a number of new attractions would help draw in bigger crowds today and tomorrow.
“The national shearing championships have been a big drawcard, and there have been plenty of people coming through the gates for that.
“We have had some fantastic entries in the showjumping, and record entries in the arts and crafts sections.
“And the extra entertainment that has been added to the program also seems to be attracting people.”
Sideshow alley was popular with young people making the most of a day off school, with the sounds of laughter and screaming echoing from gravity-defying rides.
The handicraft, cookware and floral displays were popular with older show goers keen to admire the hours of work that had been put into each entry.
The animal nursery was a favourite with six-year-old Toby Fish who said he had been having a great day.
“I’ve been on the motorbikes, the dodgems and have played with some Guinea pigs,” he said.
The show fun continues today and tomorrow, with the finals of the national shearing championships tonight, live local music, roving entertainment and a fireworks spectacular this evening.