Attracting over 100,000 visitors, from an average of 38 different countries, the National Fieldays is in it’s its 46th year and is the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere.
As a born & bred city girl, who’s never set foot on a farm, I was of course, the obvious choice to send along to Fieldays!
Having never been before, I must admit I did have a few misconceptions about the event, which by the end of the day, I’m glad to say were completely wrong. From wondering how I would survive perusing farm equipment for hours, to wishing I could come back the next day…
Here’s a few reasons why you should go to Fieldays (even if you know nothing about agriculture or farming like me)
It’s not all about cows:
Misconception #1 out the window. From the moment I arrived, I was blown away with the scale of the event. I could see from the map in my programme that there were lots of exhibitors (more than 900 in fact!), but actually seeing it in real life was impressive…. and a bit overwhelming.
Yes, there were plenty of farming products & machinery, but also everything else from cars, trucks, tractors, boats, spa pools, fireplaces, furniture & homeware, toys, clothing and not to mention some great food and beverage. I thought I had planned my day well, but I probably only got to see half of what I wanted to.
A big hit was the Kiwi’s Best Kitchen marquee which had people streaming through all day and played host to demonstrations from Master Chef Josh Emett and packed out with food exhibitors where you could sample everything from homemade preserves and condiments, gourmet cheese and meats, and some (very delicious) port & (also very good) lemoncello.
The display areas:
Having been to many a trade show, I was expecting 3 x 3 meter partitioned stands, and while Fieldays did have it’s fair share, the creativity and effort put into many of the exhibition areas was impressive and a real highlight. One of my favourites: The Ford off-road test drive track:
The shows and demos:
While I missed the Suzuki Extreme Air motorbike jumping (track was too wet), there were plenty of demonstrations and exhibitions to pique anyone’s interest. The Westpac Rescue helicopter flew in for a demo rescue, winching a patient to safety. The Ag Art Wear Awards offered an exciting fashion showcase. There were cooking demonstrations, lamb boning demonstrations, fencing, wood chopping, trained dogs doing impressive tricks and something I found surprisingly entertaining…. tractor pulling. It might be day-to-day work for many farmers, but for a city girl like me, seeing these huge machines being maneuvered around with ease (in the rain!), was a sight to behold.
The farming machinery: Yes, the farming machinery! What at first I was dreading, was actually very intriguing and the technology behind them impressive. Even if most of the time i had no idea what they did, they either looked really cool, or really funny. This was both…
The deals: While I was not the target market for the very latest in milking machines, there were plenty of deals to be had. I was determined to buy some gumboots (even tiny backyards in the city get muddy!) but i should’ve taken the advice of my workmates and purchased some before Fieldays, because the walk across paddocks from my car, to the entry gates left me ankle deep in mud at times. Now I know for next year…..
There’s still a day left to experience all that is Fieldays 2014. Check out the website for online tickets, purchase at the gate or start planning your 2015 visit. I know I am.
What: Fieldays 2014
When: 11 – 14 June, 2014
Where: Mystery Creek Events Centre, 125 Mystery Creek Road, Hamilton, New Zealand.