Family price drops, new pavilions, new competitions, new attractions, more tech, and more at night
There is no better tagline for Ekka 2018 than "back to the future" with this year not only dropping entry price but adding more modern entertainment, while doubling down on the show's traditional roots.
The Ekka started as humble agricultural show in 1876 and hasn't shied away from its past. The animals are an ever-popular aspect of the show. There is quite literally nowhere else in Brisbane where you can see 10,000 animals at once. As you may well be aware, RNA’s Brisbane Showground have been undergoing a regeneration project which includes the CRT Pavilion - a new home for large and small breeds during the show.
This year, the ground and first floor will be home to beef and dairy cattle, poultry and dairy goats during the 10 days in August– adding an extra two football fields of space where you can see animals at the show.
“It is the only building of its kind in the world and has been specially designed to house animals during Ekka and act as an events space and car park facility outside of show – with all revenue invested back into the Ekka,” said RNA Chief Executive Brendan Christou said of the new facility.
There's also a new Woodchop Arena, located at the Bowen Bridge Road end of Sideshow Alley, highlighting the popular and traditional attraction by increasing its footprint 50% in the all-weather indoor space.
Also new to this year's Ekka are a bunch of competitions, including the Dagwood Dog Eating Competition. Australia's No.1 Ranked Pro Competitive Eater and social media star ‘Hulk Smash Food’ (Cal Stubbs) will take on the challenge. Fancy yourself as a cracking Karaoker? There’s i-Sing Karaoke where performers will compete karaoke style in the Queensland state and national finals of the i-Sing Australia competition. Or, if you're more the footloose kind, a boot-scooting Line Dancing Hoedown featuring social dancing, competition demonstrations, beginner workshops and the inaugural Queensland Club Challenge.
The hilarious Heritage Bank Racing Pigs return. Last seen at Ekka in 2015, the popular little piggies will fly through the sky, dive into a pool of water and race each other around a track.
Ekka Fashion returns, this year to a whimsically themed wonderland theme called Enchanted Winter. 70% of the designers are new and 26 women’s and menswear designers showcasing the natural materials of cotton, wool, silk and leather will strut their wares in 40 shows over the 10 days.
There's a brand new technology hub located in the Technology Precinct on the upper floor of the Royal International Convention Centre. The hub will showcase the latest in virtual reality technology where Ekka visitors can walk in the footsteps of Aboriginal people from the 1770s or throw VR snowballs at each other. You'll also be able to fly micro-drones around an obstacle course in a netted area. Australia’s first 5G Connected Car will be there alongside coding activities for kids
One of the greatest modern additions to the show - Ekka Nights - returns with more new excitement than you can fire 2.5 tonnes of fireworks at. Running 6-8pm every night, Ekka Nights kicks off with the national anthem will super star Adam Brand, and then a special fireworks for the littlies at 6.05pm. After that, the night continues ablaze with the motor mayhem of Bronco vs Cowboy Lowd V8 UTE precision driving and race, monster trucks, daring FMX riders, and a wild colonial wagon chase.
The night finishes with a spectacular fireworks and light display. This year's nightly finale will feature an Ekka record breaking 150 firing points in a 360 design. There will be a giant space shuttle blasting off and pyrotechnics shooting out of remote controlled cars as they circle the Main Arena at more than 100kph. If that’s not enough, Ekka Nights will also feature a car powered by a jet engine shooting 30ft flames! Ekka Nights is actually incredible value if you take advantage of the Twilight Pass costing just $20 for entry after 6pm.