It's almost Easter time, one of my most favourite times of the year. The weather is gorgeous, the sunlight is special, chocolate abounds, the autumn racing carnival is in full swing and, of course, there's the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
For those not in the know, the Easter Show is an agricultural show. Every town and city in Australia has one at least once a year. For my North American friends they're kind of like a state fair. There's the farm animals, wood chopping, agricultural displays, baked goods, craft, arts, rides and performances. My favourite part of going to the show when I was growing up was the final stop of the day - the showbag pavilion.
Each year, I would peruse the stands and work out exactly what bag would give me the most goodies. My brothers always went with the Coke, Sunnyboy or Cadbury bag. I was more of a fan of the Bertie Beetle and the Lavender House bag (a fave from the '80s which was filled with mauve lace lavender-smelling trinkets). I can still remember the excitement of getting home and dumping the contents of the bags on my bed, feeling wealthier than the Queen.
I have never taken my girls to the show, but a few weeks ago they got an opportunity that as a kid I would have killed for. They were invited to the launch of the 2010 showbags and along with kids from Westmead Children's hospital and Royal Far West were appointed showbag 'testers'!
We arrived on the day to a pen of baby farm animals, where the girls excitedly fed lambs, kids and a calf. They didn't think things could get much better until they were herded (excuse the pun) into a hall and the Care Bears and My Little Pony came wandering out with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman. Just when life was about as good as it gets, the staff said the kids could pick two showbags from a whole room full of display bags to take home. Well, if this happened to me when I was a kid it would have been on par with finding a golden ticket to the Wonka factory.
The girls didn't know what showbags were when we got there, but they sure do know. Lil-lil chose a mega-dolls bag and Dorothy the Dinosaur bag while Goosey picked (with some help from mum) In the Night Garden and Sesame Street.
The funniest part of the day was the girls first experience with the paparazzi. The media there fell for their cuteness and at one stage they were completely surrounded by snapping cameras - they, of course, were too busy deciding whether toys were better chocolate to notice the melee.
I secretly wanted to sneak out with a Bertie Beetle bag for myself to feel like that 8-year-old again, but I managed to restrain myself. I'll just have to fork out the few dollars at the show.
So happy show time everyone! I hope you get out there and have a fun day. Was there a showbag you just had to have as a kid?