Maitland Show is returning to its farming roots in a bid to educate, inspire and entertain crowds with all things agriculture.
For the first time in many years the February 17, 18 and 19 event will feature a program brimming with farming, fresh produce and a hands-on animal nursery that was a key attraction at last year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show.
There will be up to 70 animals – including many baby animals – to meet.
There’ll be ducklings, piglets, ponies and donkeys as well as hens and roosters, an alpaca and baby lambs and goats.
Children will be able to walk around the animal nursery with their parents and interact with the animals.
Golden Ridge Animal Nursery operations manager Keegan Nye said the nursery gave children the chance to experience a farming atmosphere.
“The world is such a technology-focused place and that’s taking a lot of the experiences kids should have with animals away,” he said.
“They should be having hands on experiences with animals and the interactive nursery gives them the chance to feel and touch them and learn about them.
“We are a family farm, we have been for 30 years, and we go into schools and teach kids how important farmers and farming are.”
Mr Nye said children could pat the animals and ask questions about them. His family hand raise all of the animals and every one is a pet.
“You can see that when we’re working with the animals and when the public interacts with them,” he said.
He said the nursery often enticed parents to share their own experiences at the show, or on the farm, with their children.
“The kids will be able to pat, feed and brush the lambs and the goats,” he said.
“It’s just as enjoyable for the parents as it is for the kids. A lot of the parents would have grown up on a farm on in a rural area, so it becomes a real bonding experience for the whole family.”
Maitland Show Society has also organised a range of free entertainment to make the event more affordable for families.
Showground coordinator Bronwyn Bell said families could be educated and entertained for a whole day without spending any money once they paid the entry fee.
The show has reached out to the business community for $10,000 sponsorship to help meet the cost of running the show. It costs between $70,000 and $80,000 to run the event. More than $30,000 of that is to pay for entertainment.
“Even if we got 20 businesses at $500 each that would be a big help,” she said.
The show will make the donations tally public. Phone 49335052 to donate.