The Brisbane Ekka on a shoestring budget
It’s the first week in August, so that means it’s time for the Ekka to hit Brisbane. It also represents the very last public holiday until the Christmas season. Fortunately I work in an area of metro Queensland that allows me to have Monday off as my show holiday. Long weekend! < insert happy dance here >
Usually I don’t bother going to the Ekka. I hear people whining about how much it costs, how food is hideously expensive and how it just saps money out of your wallet from the minute you go through the gates. The last show I went to was the regional one in Rockhampton, probably around 1997. I went with the standard $120 and went home when I was broke. That was a lot of money in 1997 – not so much in the sense that you could buy two licorice straps from the corner store for $1 (which you could) but because it represented about a week’s worth of my pay as a student. I’d try to ration it out so I could at least spend the day there….usually I’d have enough to see me through till 5pm. By that time I’d had enough sugar and silliness for another year.
So I assumed that it would be the same process, only my money just wouldn’t last half as long. But after today’s experience, I’m hard pressed to think of how I could possibly have spent $120 at the show. I went with around the same amount of money and surprisingly came home with more than half of it still in my wallet. That included lunch and ice cream for two and two Darryl Lea show bags. Of course, we’re now in our 30s and not willing to part with good money in order to feel nauseated so we didn’t bother with any of the rides. Therein lies the secret of having a fairly frugal Ekka experience. We could have saved even more money by taking our own food for lunch – but surely half the experience of the Ekka is having a rib fillet burger with all the trimmings for lunch – right?
Overall we had a good time, soaked up a bit of the sunshine and got to see the dirt bikes and precision driving team put on a good show in the main arena. Best of all, since we had gotten there so early in the morning, we were able to head home just as the crowds were starting to build and get that little bit crazy. And courtesy of Darryl Lea, we even had something to nibble on during the drive home.
Such a beautiful day and not a cloud in the sky!