I remember the long walk home overloaded with so many bags, their string handles cutting into my skin. Swapping the bits I didn't like with my brother and eating sweets until I felt sick.
And I always came home with a doll on a stick with a stick out fancy skirt and glitter hair.
She would decorate my bedroom for months until the elastic in her arms stretched and the colours faded.
Some things don't change and walking through the gate into sideshow alley the familiar excitement sneaked up on me suddenly. I remembered my first Ferris wheel ride when my mother begged the operator to stop as she watched my white face spinning above the crowds. (I'm still not a big one for rides.)
The plan was always simple, strawberry sundae, chips from the Tasmanian chip stall, ham sandwiches from the Butter Board, hit the bags pavilion and then the show ring, snacking on the bags until it was time to go home.
This year the Ekka has a stronger food focus that ever so I decided to revisit my childhood and test out the food options. First we had to look at the dogs, wondered at the people showing them in the ring and perused the birds and marveling at their vibrant colours.
I found a really silly jester hat for number one son and we all enjoyed strawberry sundaes ($4.50).
K2 decided to feed his inner child with a dagwood dog ($4.50). He hasn't admitted regretting this yet but I think it's only a matter of time. A non-seafood lover, he then had to watch me eat 10 of the most delicious Coffin Bay oysters ($20) from the Seafood and Wine Bar in the Woolworth's Fresh Pavilion. V Diddy had a smoked salmon roll ($8) which she said was very good. It certainly appeared to be piled with lots of smoked salmon.
This pavilion was a foodies delight with an overflow of great food and wine on show and sale. There also was a strong Queensland element. Alison Alexander and Peter Howard strut their stuff here too.
Then it was onto the bags pavilion to stock up on Bertie Beatle bags and a Darrel Lee licorice bag. I wanted a Tim Tam bag but couldn't find one. :(
We tried to find the Country Women Association stall but it was in disguise. Shame because I was hoping for some great scones.
Although there's lots that is new and different at the Ekka the essence is still there. It's crowded and noisy, there are plenty of thrills and screamers to match. You can buy everything from a car to rocky road and the animals make some parts smell like a farm (sorta in a good authentic way).
Bottom line: The Ekka is still the Ekka. Go see for yourself.