The Bathurst Weekend Diversion – a break from the norm. Get to the Bathurst Showgrounds this weekend

BACK TO THE PAST: Bathurst Agricultural Museum curator, Alan Pike, sat upon one of the vintage tractors at the 2019 Bathurst Show

For two years the Bathurst Agricultural Show has been cancelled due to concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. So this year the Bathurst Agricultural Society (BAS) has organised a form of mini-show that they have named The Bathurst Weekend Diversion.

BAS is responsible for the organisation and set-up of the annual Bathurst Agricultural Show each year.

PEDAL TO THE METAL: The 2018 full Bathurst Agricultural Show saw the first ride-on lawnmower race. In the photograph, BAS president, Danny Wepener, appears to be leading the pack whereas, in fact, the pack are about to overtake him for the third time

The area is dependent on agriculture and farming (livestock or crop farming) which employs more people than any other industry. Therefore, the Bathurst Agricultural Show is a very important event on the Sunshine Coast calendar. The show is a way for farmers to meet, to purchase animals at the stock auctions and to catch up with developments on the agricultural front. It is also an opportunity for companies to show their products and any new technologies available to farmers. Bathurst Agricultural Show is the top rural agricultural show in the Eastern Cape and is ranked in the top six agricultural shows in South Africa.

The 2020 show was cancelled and was intended to mark the arrival of the first British settlers to the Eastern Cape. It was proposed that the show be moved to 2021 but, as time has passed and restrictions, although eased, were still in place, the 2021 Bathurst Agricultural Show was also cancelled, leaving BAS with little income and the locals desperate for some Eastern Cape-style entertainment.

RARE AND EXOTIC: Come see the wide variety of pot plants and bonsais at the weekend diversion

The 2021 Weekend Diversion is BAS’ answer to generate income for itself and provide lots of entertainment for the locals. Although the weekend diversion is not the full show, it already has the support of many sponsors and Hobson and Co are the headline sponsors for the event.

“I would like to thank Hobson and Co, as well as all our other sponsors and participants who have made the weekend diversion a reality,” said BAS president, Danny Wepener.

Wepener and his team have organised a two-day show that will allow locals to display their arts and crafts while, at the same time, provide some much-needed entertainment.

“We are keeping thing local for the weekend diversion,” Wepener added. “The stallholders will all be local as will those taking part in the show. We want our locals to appreciate the Bathurst Showgrounds and the vast open space as well as to have fun at the exhibitions where locals display their art or craftwork and to enjoy the live music by Sunshine Rockers and Shane Steenkamp playing vinyl hits throughout the day.”

JUNIOR ART: Study the artwork on display and see if there are any budding Picassos or Da Vincis in our midst

The shortened programme is still full of fun and other activities that should entertain the entire family.

On Saturday and Sunday you may wish to get close and personal with the Alpacas on show, or inspect the classic cars, visit the stall to find a bargain, inspect the junior art, or the home industry section in the Memorial Hall or try for one of the fantastic items in Saturday’s pop-up auctions.

The main events on Saturday include The Town Criers, dressed resplendently in their red tunics, who will be wandering around the showgrounds making pronouncements, the belly dancers, the line dancing that many visitors will join in, pop-up auctions and the ever-popular ride-on lawnmower races. After disappointingly eating dust the last two-times he has participated in the race, Wepener said he is prepared to mow-up the competition in this years’ event.

But the biggest event on Saturday will be at the Beer Garden at 5pm when Sunshine Rockers will be performing live.

Sunday’s main attraction, aside from the vintage tractors, is the potjie competition at the Beer Garden from 10am. Judging will take place at 1pm, giving enough time for the flavours in each pot to meld and enrichen, ready to be sampled by the local spectators.

Popularising agriculture is one of the main aims of the BAS, and to this end, the annual show provides children, teens and adults a window in order to see how things work in the real world. As the climate changes farming and agriculture will become essential services for the country, so generating interest in agriculture is an important factor in the work of BAS. From sustainable farming, care for soil and crop rotation, animal husbandry and many more, plus all the related industries such as fertiliser production, seed banks, the abattoir, transportation to market and so on, are subjects that require studying in order to ensure a sustainable world.

But, the main purpose of the weekend diversion is to provide the whole family with a lekker Eastern Cape weekend.





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