2018 Murray Bridge Show will be society's 100th, Ken Wells' 60th

Hard at work: Bill Vette, Richard Hein, Barry Hoffman, Ken Wells, Trevor Jericho and Trevor Estella-Robin set up. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Hard at work: Bill Vette, Richard Hein, Barry Hoffman, Ken Wells, Trevor Jericho and Trevor Estella-Robin set up. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Ken Wells has seen a few Murray Bridge Shows, but this weekend's – his 60th, and the agricultural and horticultural society's 100th – will be something special.

Volunteers have spent weeks preparing the pavilion which bears Mr Wells' name and the rest of the showground to welcome thousands of visitors to a celebration of all things agricultural and horticultural.

Mr Wells took over from his father as steward of the vegetable section in 1968, and went on to become convenor and, in 1969-70, show society president.

He was heavily involved in the society's move from Murray Bridge Racecourse to the present showground on the east side in 1966.

His hands even built some of the flower stands and glass display cabinets still used in the pavilion.

"We didn't have any money, so I said 'if the show society will buy the timber, I'll build them in my shed'," he recalled.

“All the displays in here, I’ve set them up.”

He was named the society's patron several years ago, and the pavillion was named after him last year.

But the show was always a team effort, he said – one to which he hoped more young people could be recruited.

Show open times, entertainment and admission

The 100th Murray Bridge Show will be open from 9am to 9pm on Saturday and 9am to 4pm on Sunday.

Visitors will be able to park outside the showground or take a free shuttle bus from Murray Bridge Marketplace, Murray Bridge Green, IGA Swanport or IGA Fresh Westside.

The Governor of South Australia, His Excellency Hieu Van Le, will officially open proceedings at midday on Saturday.

Entertainment available over the weekend will include a fireworks show at 8.30 on Saturday night; displays by Spanish horses and the monster truck Busta; performances from Adelaide party band Mr Buzzy, the Murray Bridge Community Concert Band and a pipes and drums; cooking demonstrations by Four Ingredients Cookbook author Kim McCosker; and a presentation by Gardening Australia's Sophie Thompson.

For the kids, there will be free face painting, the Bunyip Trail, Wobbles the clown, circus performers and animal encounters, plus all the usual games, sideshows, showbags and rides one might expect.

There will be mounted games, nine-hole golfing, speed shearing, a ute muster and simulator racing.

Plus, at the heart of it all, will be the agricultural and horticultural displays themselves: horses, cattle, sheep and poultry, grain, wool, produce, flowers, wood chopping, sheaf tossing, cooking and crafts, art and school displays.

The only thing needed now, show society president Anna Scheepers said, was a large crowd to come and see it all.

"This year we've gone to extra lengths to make it an extra special show," she said.

"We've had bumper entries this year, and it'd be lovely if people could come and support the people who've entered some amazing stuff."

The show's major sponsor, for this and the next two years, will be the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) SA.

The program allows Mobilong Prison inmates to care for ex-racing dogs to help them transition into domestic life.

Greyhound Racing SA is in the final stages of constructing a new racetrack adjacent to the showground.

However, for biosecurity reasons, Ms Scheepers encouraged dog owners to leave their pets at home, and to make sure they would be safe and secure while the fireworks were on.

She thanked GAP SA and all the other sponsors who had contributed to the success of the 100th show.

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