Gladstone Show Day is gold for Rocky businesses

THE number of cars heading north along the Bruce Hwy on Wednesday morning confirmed thinking that the annual Gladstone Show public holiday may as well be called the Rockhampton Shopping Day.

But many have used the lack of agricultural entertainment at the Gladstone Show as a reason to go shopping.

Shops in Stockland Rockhampton have reported a surge in business from their Gladstone customers.

The manager of that city's biggest shopping centre, Nathanial Barbagallo, said it was busy on the public holiday every year.

After 22 years volunteering as president of the Gladstone Show Society, Noel Reddacliff said: "No matter what you do, you will always get knockers."

You couldn't stop people spending their money in Rockhampton, he said.

Kate Kiernan, 33, grew up in Gladstone, but she didn't go to the show this year. She hasn't been in 15 years.

"It is fairly lame. We can only have a one-day show considering the size of the show, while Mount Larcom has a two-day show, which is better because it has more animals and is more authentic," she said.

"People either stay at home or go to Rockhampton to shop. The show is just run down."

When we asked on Thursday for an early estimate of the attendance at the Gladstone show, it was around 6000.

But yesterday Mr Reddacliff said 4000 was likely to be closer to the real figure.

Deputy Mayor Matt Burnett said the Gladstone Show did need a "mix-up", but anyone who wasn't supportive of the work of Mr and Mrs Reddacliff could "go to hell".

"These people have volunteered for so many years," he said.

"The show does need some new ideas to mix it up. I don't want to see the end of the show in Gladstone; it has over 100 years of history."

Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies chief executive officer Mark Bryant said over the past five years, Queensland shows had experienced a 10-20% drop in takings.

"Shows like Goondiwindi and Maleny have bucked that trend by introducing new people into the committees and engaging the community all year round," he said.

Mr Reddacliff explained it simply was not feasible to bring cattle in for a one-day show.

He said the show was still enjoyed by children - and the monster trucks were a huge hit this year - and that was the reason he and his wife Robyn continued to volunteer.

"The showgrounds are here for the people of Gladstone and if they don't want to support us, (the show) will cease to exist," Mr Reddacliff said.

"The showgrounds do a service for Gladstone. They held the Bikes and Bulls, there is a gem show this weekend and the Moscow Circus coming up."

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