August 14, 2013 by tvo320
The time of year for EKKA has finally come! Ekka is Queensland’s largest and most loved annual event and this year’s theme was More Ekka than Ever. Every year for the past 136 years, the carnival/show/fair has continued to outdo itself by getting bigger and better. The Ekka welcomes nearly 500,000 people from August 8-17 to see over 10,000 farm animals, eat strawberry sundaes, ride extreme rides, and watch 23,000 competitions in cakes, cattle, cheese, and dance! They were so kind to extend an invitation for the Brisbane International Student Ambassadors to explore Ekka on People’s Day as well!
The Ekka is full of traditions that have been passed down through generations of families and I was excited to have a true Queensland experience that cannot be found elsewhere. We had an eventful day full of twists and turns. In a span of 10 hours, we ate strawberry sundaes, bought showbags, touched horses, reunited a lost boy with his mother and brother, met Prime Minster Kevin Rudd, and watched the best fireworks show! WOW! How can so many things happen all in one day? I was wondering as well but apparently things happen at epic proportions at Ekka.
Getting a strawberry sundae was a big highlight and the best part was even when you get to the end, there is a little surprise of chopped strawberries with vanilla ice cream waiting for you! The sweetest part of the sundae is that all of the materials and man power are all donated with all proceeds going to charity. I should have purchased two. The weather was gorgeous throughout the day and only rained a bit while we were wine sampling in the Woolworth’s Food Pavilion.
While we were taking a lunch break, a mother frantically came over and asked to borrow one of our chairs for a moment. We asked her what was wrong and she explained that she was looking for her son. She shared her son’s description and we all started searching. Kelly found the little boy and I was lucky enough to track down the mother and reunite them. It was such a beautiful moment. I was overcome with emotion because in an instant, a fun family day out can turn into a nightmare. The little boy was crying and the mother, tears shedding down her face, held her son so tightly. Having nieces and a nephew, I understand a tiny bit of how the mother was feeling in that moment. I would be broken if I lost track of KK, BB, or Drew Bear.
We spent a great amount of time at the Woolworth’s Food Pavilion where we tried tea, wine, food samples, and the hottest chili in the world. I LOVE spicy food but I almost lost it. I tried the Trinidad Scorpion Chilli Butch T which measures 1,463,700 scoville units of heat. The Trinidad Scorpion Chilli is grown in Australia from seeds from Trinidad. Revanth was my hero and got me an avocado ice cream to calm down my heart. I wasn’t the only one to suffer and everyone’s reaction kept making us come back. We all received “I’m a survivor of the chili factory!”
Everyone was getting pretty wiped and we were going to leave but I noticed that the Energex Community Arena was packed. Every evening, Ekka has the Ekka IgNites 360 which is a light, fireworks, and laser show featuring Ricki-Lee Coulter (Australia’s Pop Princess), Iron Man, Rooftop Express, and Monster Trucks. Ryoko and I decided to stay and boy did we make the right decision! As we sat surrounded by Australia families and took in outback humor, I realized that this is why generation after generation come back to the Ekka. The show is a tribute to the people of Australia. Hearing my first live performance of the Australian national anthem and watching the men carrying the Australian flag while riding horses was really a special moment. Thank you Ekka for showing me your roots and being proud of it!