Organisers were blown away by the number of people who turned out for the 133rd Candelo Show on Sunday January 16, despite weather concerns and the possibility of stunted numbers due to the Omicron COVID surge.
Candelo Show secretary Gerry Gill said the show was fantastic and that, "numbers wise it was probably the largest we've ever had".
He described the large turnout as "strong" and "unexpected" as the number of entries to events like the horse showjumping were down on other years and there were probably only around 1200 exhibits, rather than the usual 1300.
"The actual patronage to the show, just people coming into the front gate, was probably one of the best years we've ever had which is amazing, we just thought it would be quieter, but it wasn't," he said.
"The conditions were against us all week, it was soggy and even two days ago we were thinking we might have to cancel, but no we didn't and we got through."
"There was two things that really made it. Number one was that the weather was for us for the day, it was not too hot and of course it didn't rain, and two, I think people want to go to these kind of events again."
Mr Gill estimated around a total of 1500 paying patrons to the event and said in previous years a good turnout would have been 1200, "so that's a big show for us".
Candelo Show had big shoes to fill as well, with the secretary/treasurer Far South Coast & Snowy Monaro Association of Show Societies Lindsay Boyton in attendance to see how the show would perform given the fact it hadn't gone ahead for two years and COVID cases were still very much surging across the state.
"We expected the numbers to be down because people didn't want to come to an event like that, it was the first show of the season down here," said Mr Gill.
It was good news for the rest of the shows coming up in the next couple of months, with the chairman and event organisers very happy with the turnout.
Another key factor in determining the numbers was the lunch suppliers who were basically sold out by the end of the day.
The kids all had a blast on the day too, with a spectacular turnout for the Tiny Zoo show that was full throughout the entire day. Mr Gill described their presentation as "unique and very professional".
The simple children's activities such as the egg and spoon races, the tug-o-war, and the paper plane throwing challenges also made for a fun day outdoors doing age-old tried and tested activities.
All the events went ahead except for the beef cattle judging that was impacted by people not travelling due to COVID complications.
The exhibit pavilion was restricted by COVID-safe numbers, however it was still a very popular part of the day with patrons waiting patiently to enter.
"I have to say, and I'm being genuine here, it was fantastic," said Mr Gill.
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