You can save money right off the bat by pre-purchasing tickets from Foodland, saving up to $10 per entry. This means a family of five can save $50 if they get their tickets during their weekly grocery shop. Not all Foodlands offer this deal, so check your local store online first.
If you’re driving, there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, hundreds of people fighting for spots, hefty parking fees and you’re not even inside the Showgrounds yet. Sometimes getting to and from the venue is the worst part of the day, but it doesn’t have to be with plenty of buses, trains and trams heading past. On the weekend, parking in the CBD can be as little as $5, and then taking the tram or train to the Showgrounds costs between $2-5 per person. It’s easy to tap on with a credit card, which charges a base fare and means you don’t need to rustle up the old MetroCard.
There’s more to the Show’s food scene than just hot doughnuts and Dagwood dogs – producers from all around Australia gather to show off their best tasty treats and you can try them all for next to nothing.
The Taste SA Pavilion is where South Aussie producers share their wares, offering everything from biscuits and jerky to condiments and confectionery. If there’s a particular product you fall in love with, talk with the vendor about taking it home – they usually do special show deals with discounts and free delivery.
The Duncan Gallery hosts plenty of food stalls – be sure to try the Manuka Wood Smoked Olives from Kiwi Artisan and pop past Continental Taralli Biscuits for their range of sweet and savoury snacks.
Next up, head to the dairy shed and sample all the ice cream, cheese and flavoured milk. If you haven’t filled up on samples, grab a cheese toastie (or two) for only $3.50 each. Compared to a $9 chip on a stick or a $20 waffle, this is a great way to save on lunch and still enjoy a tasty treat.
Take a sip
For those over 18 years, the show provides a wonderland of drinks for all to enjoy. With gins, wines, beers, liqueurs and spirits, it’s easy to discover a new favourite – but be warned, the generous tastings do add up fast. First head to the Duncan Gallery where you’ll find Unicorn Spirits, Never Never Distilling, Dolce by Cello, Threefold Distilling and Red Hen Gin just to name a few. The makers love nothing more than sharing their creations, so be ready to take a sip (or two) of every drink they have on offer. Even if it isn’t your usual tipple of choice, take a chance and try them all – you’ll be surprised by some of the creative concoctions.
Next, take a tour through the Taste SA Pavilion and indulge in the best beverages all in one place. For a more formal tasting, the Cellar Door Experience is held five times each day and only requires a gold coin donation. Participants are guided by a professional wine educator in tasting four local wines paired with produce from corresponding regions. For non-wine-drinkers, a similar beer and cider experience is held at 6pm daily – but be sure to arrive early because it’s first come, first served.
Show us the showbags
The cost of a few showbags can add up quickly and they can quickly lose their charm once you’ve left the Show atmosphere, so we’ve collated some of the best value-for-money showbags on the market.
Supporting local is always the best way to go, and the Gourmet Goodie Bag – organised yearly by Sam Tucker of Tucker’s Natural – is filled to the brim with South Aussie food and drink for only $20. Inside, you’ll find samples of 14 products plus vouchers for local food businesses, ideal for having a family picnic on the lawn by the Ferris Wheel. The Fruchocs showbag is also great value – grab five packets of Crown Mints for $10, eight packets of Honeycomb for $15 or assorted bags with up to nine bags of Fruchocs for $20.
If a showbag isn’t for you, browse the nearby Market Bazaar and find something you really love – sometimes it is best to buy a single item you’ll enjoy for a long time over spending the same amount of money on things that will fade fast. Plus, you’ll be supporting the local artisans displaying their wares.
The Main Arena is where all the action happens – watch V8 cars speed around the track, motorcycles take to the air with freestyle stunts, elite athletes participate in Highland Games and equestrian show jumping and barrel racing. If you stay after dark, be sure to watch the nightly fireworks.
In the Goyder Pavilion, kids will love to see Bluey and Bingo in real life, while Lights – Camera – Action! will dazzle the whole family as they dance through the eras of cinema. Also at the Goyder Pavilion is Unplugged, where up-and-coming South Australian rock and pop singers debut on stage.
Sister pop-rock duo Ella and Sienna take to the Boulevard Stage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night with a free concert accompanied by their Adelaide Hills band. A musical revue takes on the stage daily at 2pm and 6pm to delight theatre fans.
Children can learn all about life on the farm in the Stirling Angas Hall which has been transformed into a miniature farm. The free activity takes children aged between two and ten years old through stations including a chicken coop, apple orchard, beehive and veggie patches. Kids can gather produce to take to the ‘farmers market’ and trade for farm dollars which can be exchanged at a kiosk for an animal keyring, which can be painted at the nearby craft station. Other hands-on farming experiences include baby animal feeding in The Learning Centre and cow milking in the Dairy Cattle Pavilion.
There are free educational talks each day on the Horticultural Stage in the Goyder Pavilion starting from 10am. Local horticultural legends like Costa Georgiadis and Sophie Thomson are offering up their expertise with interactive panels, and locals with specific skills in everything from bees and roses to orchids and topiaries host talks throughout the day.
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