Berry Show 2014 the best on record

Two fine warm days have given Berry Show its highest attendance ever.

More than 10,000 people visited Berry Showground on Friday and Saturday breaking the record set in 2007.

Although final figures are yet to be released, both show secretary Jim Bieler and president Peter Hands have declared the previous attendance record of 10,300 well and truly broken.

"We're calling the new president Mr Sunshine," said a thrilled Mr Bieler.

Organisers had been plagued by wet weather for the past three years. Last year's show had almost half the attendance of this year's.

It wasn't only the attendance figures that increased. Entries were up with more competitors in the Pavilion categories, nearly twice as many chooks and double the number of beef cattle.

Earlier judging meant the Pavilion could open earlier and flower entries doubled while vegetable entries increased by a third.

Online entering increased the numbers competing in show jumping from 600 to 1000, while moving beef cattle judging to Saturday doubled the number of entries.

Mr Hands said the show's highlight for him was the Grand Parade.

"We haven't had one like this for 30 to 40 years and it was magnificent," he said.

Held on Saturday, the parade stretched for more than 600 metres, said Mr Hands.

"I was talking to some people who go to the Royal [Easter Show] and they said the parade was spectacular. It makes you proud."

Winning smile: Mikhaela Gray named as Berry Showgirl.   Pictures: JESSICA LONG

Intelligent beauty an asset to society

University student Mikhaela Gray (pictured) was thrilled to be named 2014 Berry Showgirl.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity to represent the Berry community and show my appreciation of it,’’ said the 23-year-old.

‘‘I’m looking forward to meeting new people, exploring some new ideas on agriculture and listening to different views.’’

Ms Gray is studying a double degree in civil engineering and law at University of Wollongong and plans to work in a big city firm after she graduates.

Her early experience of attending Berry Show inspired her to enter the competition.

‘‘I’ve always been aware of the showgirl competition since I was young,’’ she said.

‘‘I remember very fondly showgirls going around. 

‘‘This year has been the right time to do it, to be part of the show society and to give something back to the community.’’

Story: FRANCES RAND Picture: JESSICA LONG

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