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Best things to do; competitions to see; best food, what to do with family and kids; bestmusic; best-entertainment; most popular, best value showbags; how to get to the ekka

After two years of hibernation, Queenslanders will soon return to the Royal Queensland Show, or the Ekka, a celebration of the state’s local produce, culture and entertainment scene that’s run for almost 150 years.

The iconic Ekka will return from August 6-15, after being put on pause during the pandemic.

Those in the greater Brisbane area will also enjoy a public holiday on August 10.

Tickets to the Ekka can only be purchased online this year. (ekka)

With some new additions to the beloved agricultural show, 9news.com.au has broken down some must-see events and what you need to know before heading to the Brisbane Showgrounds.

The Royal Queensland Show has been running from the Brisbane Showgrounds in Bowen since 1876, attracting millions of people from all over the state and country through its gates.

Show organizers recommend catching public transport to avoid the traffic, with dedicated Ekka buses stopping right outside the front gate.

Trains frequently arrive and depart from Exhibition Station in the middle of the showgrounds.

For those driving, carparks within walking distance are the King Street carpark, Cornerstone Parking at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, the Valley Metro Carpark or McWhirters Car Park. Secure bike parking for cyclists is located on Carriage Street.

Best things to do at the Ekka, Brisbane 2022.
The Ekka has over 130,000 competition classes. (ekka)

Those attending the Ekka will have to buy their tickets online this year to enable organizers to monitor numbers due to COVID-19.

Tickets won’t be available for purchase at the venue.

Attendees can go online to secure their tickets and select a day they’d like to attend the show with adult, concession and children’s prices available.

Kids under four years old can get a Little Ekka ticket, which is free of charge.

Discounts of 20 per cent are running on August 8-9 and 11-12.

Discounted tickets are available any time when buying in large groups through the website.

Woodchopping and sawing are among some favorite competitions. (ekka)
The Queensland government has announced its offering of free facemasks to all attendees of the Royal Queensland Show in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

With hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to attend the show, the Queensland premier has urged visitors to consider wearing a mask, particularly indoors.

What’s new at the Ekka 2022

Following its hiatus, organizers of the Ekka have brought in some new entertainment for 2022, including a comedy show, a new monster truck show and new additions to the RACQ Animal Nursery.

The stars of bluey will also be performing three live interactive experiences at 11am, 1pm and 2pm on the main stage each day for the kids.

The RACQ Animal Nursery is a family favorite for kids. (ekka)

The Stockman’s Rest area will also have some new additions.

“For the very first time, the area will be jam-packed with a variety of daily entertainment including, dairy cattle judging, the clang of iron striking during the Farriers and Blacksmith Competition, and poets belting out bush ballads,” an Ekka spokesperson said .

The RACQ Animal Nursery will now feature two highland cows with camels returning to the nursery.

Best things to do at the Ekka, Brisbane 2022.
The Ekka’s cattle show is the biggest in Australia. (ekka)

New night-time entertainment includes a stunt show which will feature “freestyle motocross action, high-speed ute drifting and death-defying motorbike stunts”.

Also new this year is a stand-up comedy night, presented by the Sit Down Comedy Club.

“From snappy one-liners to hilarious stories and funny home truths, some of Brisbane’s best comedians will take to the mic at Stockmen’s Bar and Grill at 8.30 pm on August 7,” a spokesperson said.

The Flower Beard competition pairs florists with some of Brisbane’s best beards. (ekka)

The Ekka is a celebration of all things agriculture and craftsmanship, with over 130,000 competition classes.

Competitions range from produce growing, woodchopping, quilt-making, cake making, flower growing, wearable art, beekeeping and sculpture to animal shows like cat and horse breeding competitions.

Highlights include the giant pumpkin competition, woodchopping and sawing – where the star axeman or woman will be decided – or the Flower Beard competition, where the state’s best florists will decorate and present Brisbane’s best beards.

Best things to do at the Ekka, Brisbane 2022.
The Ekka’s best animal winners will be on display in the Main Arena. (ekka)

The canine competition is one of the show’s largest and most popular competitions, with over 2000 entries each year.

Australia’s biggest cattle competition is also held at the Ekka, with the stud beef competition showing the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Ekka’s best animals will be on display in the iconic Grand Parade at the Main Arena.

What to do at the Ekka for families

Families can watch any of the three daily performances with the cast of bluey on the Main Stage or play with farm animals at the RACQ Animal Nursery.

Kids can also get the chance to “cradle-a-chick” with baby chickens at the large animal pavilion, or snack on an iconic strawberry sundae from one of the dozens of food vendors at the show.

If staying at the Showgrounds into the evening, catch the nightly fireworks at 7.40pm.

Kids under four get into the show for free. (ekka)

What to do at the Ekka for adults

Adults can check out the Royal Queensland Steakhouse and Bar for a meal and a drink, with produce sourced from winners of the Royal Queensland Awards and Ekka competitions.

The steakhouse will serve the country’s best steak, lamb, wine, and cheese in one location.

Best things to do at the Ekka, Brisbane 2022.
Sample award-winning produce at the Royal Queensland Steakhouse and Bar. (ekka)

Foodies can also enjoy the new Royal Queensland Cooking Stage in the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion to learn new culinary techniques from award-winning cooks, acclaimed chef Dominique Rizzo and some of Queensland’s top chefs.

There are also live music acts like headliner Amy Sheppard, one of the Sheppard siblings behind the song “Geronimo”.

She will be performing on the Multicultural Plaza Music Stage at 8pm on August 12.

The Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion has some of the cheapest eats and free samples to nibble on.

Morning tea at the Queensland Country Women’s Association is also a highlight with fresh scones and other treats the CWA has been serving at the Ekka for over a century.

The café can be found under the John McDonald Stand.

Between perusing the displays and competitions, grab an iconic Ekka strawberry sundae.

Best things to do at the Ekka, Brisbane 2022.
All profits from the Ekka’s famous strawberry sundaes are donated to the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. (ekka)

The ice creams have been served since the 1950s and all profits from the sundaes go to the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, funding vital medical research.

Head to the Cattleman’s Bar or the Craft Beer Taphouse for a locally produced craft beer or roam the showgrounds for hot chips and a dagwood dog.

Best showbags at the Ekka

The most popular showbags could sell out so visitors are urged to get in quick.

Among the 400 showbags available, the $3 Bertie Beetle showbag remains a favorite followed by the $17 rural aid showbag, the $25 Chatime showbag and the $32 bluey showbag.

Hundreds of showbags will be on offer at Brisbane's annual Ekka and they range in price from $2 to hundreds of dollars.
Hundreds of showbags will be on offer at Brisbane’s annual Ekka and they range in price from $2 to hundreds of dollars. (9News)

Other favorites for $32 include the Cocomelon showbag for the kids, a Pokémon or Harry Potter showbag, a Barbie Dreamtopia showbag or the Squishy Things showbag.

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