Formally the Royal Queensland Show, the annual agricultural show of Queensland is best known to Brisbane locals simply as "The Ekka" (short for 'exhibition').
It’s Queensland’s largest annual event drawing more than 400,000 visitors each year to see a showcase of Queensland culture, produce, resources and initiatives for 10 days every August.
There are a number of competitions, award ceremonies, exhibits, displays, animals and performances, not to mention the rides, show bags, food stands, entertainment and nightly fireworks.
For 136 years it has been one of the most important annual events for the state of Queensland.
The Ekka 2015
For the second year the Ekka will run for ten days over two weekends, starting on Friday the 7th of August and finishing on Sunday the 16th.
Whether you’re taking the family or going with friends, The Ekka is lots of fun for everyone. Hop on for the thrill of the carnival rides, get some hands on experience with the animals, see the spectacular exhibits, learn about agriculture in Queensland or shop for the perfect show bag for your kids.
This year’s entertainment line-up is still not confirmed, but every year The Ekka puts on a show to remember. You’ll show jumping, car stunts, dance shows and some featured Australian singers before being dazzled by a fireworks display that gets more extravagant every year.
There’s even a Royal Queensland Show public holiday, with the people of Brisbane getting a day off on Wednesday the 12th of August so they can attend the show. So everyone has a day free to attend The Ekka.
- Date of next event: 7-16 August, 2015
- Line-up: TBA
- Location: Brisbane Showgrounds, 600 Gregory Tce, Bowen Hills
- Cost: $30 for adults and $19 for children
While there are a number of car parks located walking distance from the RNA Showground they will all be charging a daily parking fee while The Ekka is on and you most certainly won’t be the only one wanting a spot. Your best bet in getting to The Ekka hassle free is to catch the train to either Bowen Hills or Fortitude Valley train stations. There are also bus services catering to the influx of traffic to the event, particularly on the show public holidays.
If you’re going to be staying in Brisbane for this event you can stay in the Brisbane CBD and make the most of Queen Street Mall and all the wonderful restaurants on the Brisbane River. Or find accommodation in the inner north area for easy transport to the show while keeping back from the busy city centre.
Tickets can be purchased through the Ekka website and also include family passes to save on admission.
The first "Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876" was held in Bowen Park, where a creek ran through what is now the Main Arena.
A public holiday was declared for the opening day and 17, 000 people attended in a time when the population of Brisbane was only 22,000. Men wore suits, ladies their best dresses, and all attendees received the first show bag – a free bag of coal.
In 1921 the ‘Royal’ Show was held after the Association was approved the prefix by His Majesty King George V. Since then the Royal Queensland Show has been known by locals as the ‘Ekka’ as a shortened name for exhibition.
In over 130 years of show history there have only been two occasions when the annual event did not take place.
In 1919 Brisbane suffered a Spanish influenza epidemic and in 1942 the Showgrounds were being used as a staging depot for troops moving north for World War II.