All the fun of show day comes to town this February 1 — including the flashing blades of the timber sports axemen

A spectacular 144 years young

by Andy Bryenton

Paparoa’s annual A&P show is a local institution, which has attracted a following from far afield in recent years, as it sums up in one glorious day all the rural traditions which can be gathered together as ‘the good life’. From roots 144 years ago, when farmers competed in a friendly way about who could produce the finest crops and livestock, the show has progressed into a beloved yearly tradition.

This year will be no exception, with a host of country-style contests and genuine rural hospitality on display. Some people come for the food, of which there will be plenty. Some come for the live music and entertainment, which will echo across Paparoa’s valley setting on the summer breeze. While others will want front row seats as the riders, ropers, axe-swingers and artisans go head-to-head for bragging rights and a swag of trophies.

This year there will be equestrian sports, wood chopping, a parade of ribbon-worthy goats and cattle, and even the dust, grit and daring of the roping event, in which riders ply the lasso with dazzling skill. Bask in the smells of the bake-off, enjoy the colourful prized flowers, marvel at king-sized fruit and veg, or revel in the sheer proper, old-fashioned Kiwiana magic of it all.

It’s a brilliant family day, so save the date; Saturday, February 1 is the time to load up the kids, slap on some sunscreen and join your hosts, the people of Paparoa, for their day in the sun.

With 144 years of practice, there’s every indication that they have perfected the A&P show formula for everyone to enjoy.