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Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Ekka Showbag Difference

Dr. Vincent Wan


Besides the strawberry sundae and the foot long dagwood dog, the Ekka showbag is the most iconic part of the Royal Queensland Show. When I was a kid, I fondly remember begging mum every year to buy a special edition of the Sunday Mail that was only available a few weeks before the Ekka started just to get the included Ekka showbag guide. We didn’t usually buy newspapers and this was the only way to have a sneak peek at what showbags were available that year. I’m sure they sold a lot of newspapers due to the included showbag guide back in the day. Times have certainly changed as the showbag guide is now free and easily accessible on the Ekka’s website.

The Showbag Pavilion is now a temporary big white tent instead of having its own building. The original building is now housing fine art and agriculture. The size of the space inside the tent is quite large, but there is a lot of empty space inside with less stands dedicated to selling showbags. Some Sideshow Alley gaming stalls have found their way inside the Showbag Pavilion, as well as a coffee van and area with table and chairs.

I’ve also noticed that there were a lot more showbags when I was a kid compared to now. As I walk along the aisles separating the stands, there are alot of repeat stands selling the same showbags. There were also a lot more licensed showbags back in the day. It seemed like every big movie or cartoon had their own showbag with licensed goods actually from the movie or cartoon. I still have Arnie’s sunnies from the Terminator 2 showbag and a glow in the dark Phantom ring from the Phantom showbag. Most of the toy showbags today are generic army, police or ninja themed with cheap plastic toys with no direct associations with any movie or cartoon. When licensed items were included, they seemed to be very similar between showbags. Most licensed showbags seemed to contain a licensed small plastic backpack.

The cost is also $20 to $30 a showbag for many of the toy showbags, which is very expensive. I feel that we should be able to buy many of the included items from Kmart, Target or Big W at a lower price. There were a few cheap $5 licensed toy showbags, which were a steal. However, there seemed to be very little stock of them, indicating they may be cheap as they were left over from previous years.