Let me say from the start that every Show will have unique requirements and every Show is run by volunteers. My experience is being Secretary for the Benalla Show as well has having entered many types of shows (livestock and otherwise).
I can’t emphasize enough that you need to READ THE SCHEDULE carefully before entering – making notes on any particular requirements. Especially the ones like Closing Date of Entries, Delivery dates and Collection dates.
Entering an Ag Show should not be hard, it just needs attention to detail.
Okay — short version is:
1) Read your schedule carefully.
2) Fill in the entry form.
3) Post or Deliver your entry form and fees to the Show Secretary.
4) Deliver your items at the specified time.
5) Collect your items (and any prizes!) at the specified time.
Sounds easy? Well, it is. Really!
(A small glossary is provided at the end of this document.)
First off, you need to find a schedule for the Show. Most Shows will have their schedules online from about 1-2 months before the Show. Bigger shows like Royals and Bendigo Sheep & Wool Show will have theirs online up to 6 months before so you have time to create items with specified patterns etc.
Locally, schedules will often be distributed around a town. For example horse schedules will often be found at saddleries and produce stores. In the case of Benalla they get left in various businesses around the town such as the local Newsagent and Library and Veterinary clinics.
Can’t find it online? Ring or email the Show Secretary to find out when/where they are. Or ask on the Show’s Facebook page. Victorian Agricultural Shows are listed on the parent website at www.vicagshows.com.au
Bear in mind that a lot of shows won’t have their office open regularly until very close to show time so it may take a little while for someone to get back to you. Please be patient! (And feel free to leave another message just in case the power went out in the office and all the phone messages have been lost…..)
So now you have a schedule. Excellent! Hopefully, the schedule is easy to read. Find the section you want. Some Shows will have ALL crafts/cookery etc under a single section of “Homecrafts” or something similar. Others may have each section listed separately, eg. Cookery, Needlework, Art etc.
The specific section regulations are usually listed at the start of the Section.
Here’s an example from the 2014 Benalla schedule:
The first pieces of information are about entry fees, close of entries, delivery and collection. This is followed by details on who is involved with the section and then some specific rules – such as limits on how many exhibits you can enter per class. Some rules may seem silly or un-necessary but they are usually there because at some point there was a problem! Restrictions on exhibit size are often because there is limited display space.
Now you need to find some classes to enter your items in. Here are the classes listed in Woolcraft in the 2014 Benalla Show (general crochet and knitting were separate):
Note the class numbers on the left-hand side and the details of the class to the right of each number.
Entering or Registering your items is done once you have identified that there are classes suitable for your items and that you can fulfill the delivery/collection details. Please note: whilst some Shows (usually the larger ones) may have very strict delivery / pick-up timeframes it may be worth contacting the Show Secretary to check. Benalla provides two basic times – immediately at the conclusion of the Show Day and at specified times in the week after the Show. Not all of this information can make it into the schedule however as it would make it too confusing with too much information. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Filling out the entry form should be easy – name, address, phone number and signature. Then the details of the classes you wish to enter.
Fill in the Entry Form, work out the fees owing and then either post to the Show or deliver it to their Office. A few larger shows will do online entries (but given the cost of set-up/software it probably won’t be the smaller show.)
If you mail the Entry Form to the Show then supply a self-addressed, stamped Express Post envelope and your Entry Confirmation and Exhibit Tickets will be sent back to you. If you are local to the Office then you could drop in and do it all in person. This means you can ask questions and clarify things when you are there. It also means you may have to wait in a queue if the closing date is in the next few days.
Preparing the Exhibit for Show and Delivery is straightforward: in the case of woolcrafts it will be a matter of using a small safety pin to attach your Exhibit Ticket to your item. This generally goes on the front of the item so that it is easily viewed by stewards and judges. For handspun items it is appreciated by the judges if a sample of fleece/yarn in a small plastic ziplock bag is also attached to the Exhibit to help illustrate the creative journey.
Now your Exhibit is ready for delivery!
Your options for delivery will be outlined in the schedule. Most shows will either stipulate a set time or simply a cut-off time. For example: Benalla has a Delivery cut-off time of 5pm Tuesday before the Show for Art, Craft, Photography and Textiles but Exhibitors can drop off their items prior to that at any time while the office is open. Other shows may have a very limited drop-off time-frame (the Royal Melbourne Show has one particular morning in the week before the Show).
Sending Exhibits by mail is not always possible. Some Shows will state that it isn’t possible – this is mainly because they don’t want the hassle of having to ensure items have arrived safely and then the expense/work of returning the work. If mailing is permitted then please send it early enough to reach the Show well before their Delivery cut-off, also include either reimbursement for postage or a pre-paid satchel for the return of work (check with each Show). Items will not be sent back if these aspects aren’t covered.
Judging is usually done a day or two before the Show Day. The section stewards will have set out all the exhibits on tables and the judge/s will carefully examine each piece. Most of the Victorian Ag Shows use the CWA judges for their Homecraft sections, although some may ask specialist judges in for certain sub-sections. Judging can often take most of the day; stewards will be busy writing up results and prize cards as well as finalising the display.
Collection of Exhibits and prize money is an area where there can be quite a variation. Generally, the stewards will close the pavilion for at least 1/2hr-1hr and start to disassemble the display. Then, Exhibitors with their Confirmation of Entry can come to the pavilion and collect their items from the stewards. Please don’t try to remove items from the display yourself…
Some Shows will have prize money collection during the Show (I’m not quite sure how they administer that ?) but most have it afterwards. For the Benalla Show that involves taking your Confirmation of Entry print-out or Prize Cards to the Prize desk outside the Croxford pavilion from 4.30pm on the Saturday to be paid/given a prize as stated on the card.
Glossary of Terms:
- Close of Entries (or Registration) – the date by which you need to have your Entry Form & Fees delivered to the Show Office. This can be 1-2 weeks prior to Show Day to enable processing.
- Collection – the day & time which you need to pick-up your exhibits as well as any prizes. Some Shows have very specific and very narrow time-frames so please be aware.
- Confirmation of Entry – Your “proof of ownership” to pick up the exhibits after the Show so don’t lose it!
- Delivery – the day/time the Exhibit needs to be taken to the Show. This is usually a day or two BEFORE the actual Show since most Shows will do judging prior to the Show Day.
- Exhibit – the item to be judged
- Exhibitor – you!
- Exhibit Ticket – a small piece of card/paper which is attached to the Exhibit which says which class the item is entered in as well as an individual number. This ticket is NOT an admission ticket!