A show is the Commonwealth term for an annual country fair. An agricultural show is a public event showcasing the equipment, animals, sports and recreation associated with the occupations of agriculture and animal husbandry. The largest of these comprise a livestock show (a judged event or display in which breeding stock is exhibited) a trade fair and other displays, competitions and entertainment. The terms agricultural show and livestock show are sometimes used synonymously. In addition, the work and practices of farmers, animal fanciers, cowboys and zoologists may also be on display.
Precursor fairs and fetes of this nature can be traced to medieval Europe, with roots in the local fair and beast market. Fairs and fetes became extremely popular in rural England; the agricultural show has spread to other countries. In Australia the show is an important part of cultural life. Shows range from small events in small country towns lasting most of one day, through medium-sized events of two or three days, to the all-encompassing Royal Shows in state capitals, which may run for up to two weeks and combine many elements of an amusement park with those of an agricultural show. Although increasingly under pressure in the modern age due to finances and insurance concerns, all main towns have a Show Society and in some areas, several towns and villages in the same area all have an annual show. Larger shows usually include live entertainment and fireworks in the main arena.
A distinctive feature of Australian shows is the showbag, a themed carry bag of commercial goods.
Competitions that are commonly included in shows include:
- Stud and Livestock
- Jams and preserves
- Show jumping
- Tent pegging
- Arts and crafts
- Pet shows
A related concept to a show is the field day, which is more like a trade show on machinery, equipment and skills required for broadacre farming. Field days typically do not involve livestock, showbags or sideshows, but may include events such as ploughing competitions not usually associated with shows due to the larger space required.
List of Royal Shows
- Royal Adelaide Show
- Royal Canberra Show
- Royal Darwin Show
- Royal Hobart Show
- Launceston Royal Show
- Royal Melbourne Show
- Perth Royal Show
- Sydney Royal Easter Show
- Royal Highland Show - Ingliston, Edinburgh
- Royal Welsh Show - Builth Wells, Powys
- Royal Bath and West Show - Shepton Mallet, Somerset
- Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show - Wadebridge, Cornwall
Other major agricultural and livestock shows
- United Kingdom
- United States