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Early Morning at the Royal

Early Morning at the RoyalOne of the benefits of being an exhibitor at the Royal, as far as she was concerned, was that you got free entrance passes. Her mother, of course, was less than impressed at the compulsory early arrival time that had meant leaving home while it was still dark.

After helping her mother settle their dog into their assigned booth, the girl was free to wander around the showgrounds before the crowds arrived.

Leaving the dog pavillion, she made her way down the avenue, past the small arena where the woodchopping events were held, where food vendors were setting up their stalls. She entered a hall where retailers were starting to arrive. The hall was huge and the girl knew that throughout the year bands played there.

Most of the goods held little interest for her, they were small businesses and novelty goods, mostly catering to adults rather than children. The children's hall was next door.

Between all of the halls and around the arenas were games and food stalls. The girl could see the people who ran the games setting up their stalls and checking their equipment. A tall man who was running the toss a ring game offered her a try, but she'd never had much of throwing arm and politely declined his offer.

The hall she really wanted to see was the showbag hall. They wouldn't be selling anything this early, but she'd already decided on which showbags she wanted to buy weeks ago and wanted to see where they were sold. A quick run through the huge room and she had plotted her course for a later return journey. From previous visits over the years, she knew it that as the day progressed it would be so crowded you could barely move, so devising a way to get in and out as quickly as possible was high on her agenda.

The livestock areas were next. They were large stables that housed the horses, cattle, sheep and pigs over the fortnight of the Royal, along with their owners and riders. While the girl loved all of the cows, she had little interest in the horses, except for the Clydesdales and Shire horse. She liked their huge size and furry feet. While most of the animals were here for showing, a lot of the horses and their riders would also be taking part in display and competition events.

She had kept an eye out for a display that she'd seen the previous year. A huge shallow pool had been erected in one of the display rooms and it had been filled with different types of sea life. Fish, seahorses, starfish, sponges and, her favourite, stingrays. Smaller than a dinner plate, the little stingrays had swam over to the edges of the pool so people could pat them. The girl was disappointed not to see it again.

One of the halls past the livestock pavillions was full of cages of birds arranged for display. There were brilliantly coloured chooks and ducks, some were sitting patiently in their cages, some were being groomed and some were glaring balefully at everyone who walked past.

All of the large displays, like the rodeo, precision driving teams and the fireworks, would be held in the main arena. The grand parade, featuring all of the prize winning livestock would also take part in the arena.

The far side of this arena was where all of the rides were grouped. They were going through their daily check ups as the girl walked by and it was a little odd to see them in action with no people riding them. The Wild Mouse, a ricketty, clunky miniature rollercoaster that favoured ultra sharp corners, was always in the same place, but most of the smaller, more portable rides were in different spots each year. The companies that set up the rides always kept a few favourites, but always brought it new and exciting rides for each show.

Passing the rides and she had almost looped back to where she had started. The next hall was where the regional produce displays were held. Gigantic collages were created from all of the food and fibre local to the different regions throughout the state. Scenes were painted with fleeces and fruits, pickles and preserves, and dotted with highlights of giant pumpkins. They always looked spectacular.

As she made her way back to the dog pavillion, she looked up and saw the sky lift. It was the best way to see the showgrounds. She favoured the chair over the enclosed gondola because you could lift up the rail while the ride was in motion, making it quite a scary ride.

Weaving her way back to her mother through the rows of show dogs, she had her show expeditions for the day planned out in her head. As fun as it was to see behind the scenes, she was looking forward to everything finally opening so she could see the show in action.


30minutemusechallenge #6: the mother