The Wairarapa A and P show came back with a bang over the weekend, with tens of thousands of patrons from across the Wellington region attending the event.
The iconic three-day show featured activities from scavenger hunts to lawnmower racing, carnival rides, pets, and trade exhibitions. Event organiser Sue Rayner said a record for attendance could have been broken, with about 10,000 people visiting on Saturday alone.
She said people came from all over the region, “it was absolutely chocker”.
“Apparently, coming across the Remutaka Hill yesterday it was nose to tail … the roads were jam-packed with people.”
She had more than a few Wellington visitors comment on how much the showgrounds had to offer, particularly at the opening on Friday night.
She said all three days of the event had gone off without a hitch.
It was Rayner’s first year organising the event, which had been cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of covid-19.
“We are excited to be back, everyone was extremely organised. The grounds looked really good.”
Rayner said the event had been around for 145 years, but because the last two years had been missed, this year’s A and P show was the 143rd.
Organisers said the cancellation in 2020 was not an easy decision, with society president Melvin Pike maintaining it came down to being “responsible”.
“This covid-19 pandemic has been hard on our members as a lot of them are older and more vulnerable,” he said at the time.
Rayner said the show first began at the Carterton rugby grounds and moved to its current Clareville home 40 years ago.
She said it was a highly anticipated event, and recalled attending with her dad when she was younger.
She said since then the show had grown year-on-year and this year’s event would see its highest number of cooking entrants and a return of sheep racing.
Rayner and her team are already looking forward to next year’s event.
“We asked the crowd for pointers on what they’d like to see next year, we have a few ideas.”
She was quick to thank all the volunteers, and encouraged anyone who was interested in joining the Wairarapa A and P society to do so.