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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Royal Canberra Show impresses

The Canberra Show is over for another year, and this year’s event, which included a suite of changes and new ideas, seems to have impressed the Canberra community.

Royal National Capital Agricultural Society (RNCAS) CEO Athol Chalmers said attendance figures were just shy of 50,000 people through the gates at EPIC over the three days from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 February.

Mr Chalmers said that’s an increase of 25% on last year’s attendance figures, and families were the biggest growth area, with family ticket sales up 150%.

“We’ve got the right price point now,” he said, referring to this year’s decision to cut ticket prices by 30%, and halve parking costs to $5, compared to 2018 prices.

The return of the woodchop, as expected, was a huge hit with crowds on the Saturday, and the Show hopes to expand this to three days next year.

The ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show saw around 4,000 horse events take place, involving 2,700 horses. Photos: Kerrie Brewer.

According to Mr Chalmers, the live music, agricultural tech and ‘Canberra on Show’ elements were all well received.

“Those things we tried were by and large successful,” he said, “[and we’ll] build on that for next year”.

“Canberra’s responded well to the changes we’ve made.”

But it wasn’t all fairy floss and sunshine; issues surrounding parking at EPIC saw some patrons queue for over an hour for parking, which resulted in some people turning around and going home.

Mr Chalmers acknowledged this, and said there were some challenges around parking at the venue, particularly around light rail construction and the many sets of lights along the Federal Highway that didn’t “lend itself to [traffic] flow”.

He said the issue would be reviewed before next year, and consultation would be undertaken with the ACT Government, ACT Policing and EPIC “to make sure it doesn’t happen again”.

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