Country shows are back, with hopes the toughest years in memory might now be behind them.
Kicking things off this weekend is the Albion Park Show, with organisers optimistic.
Already a smaller concern than they once were, with fewer families connected to farming than in previous generations, recent years have been blow after blow - bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic have all put paid to most country shows for two years.
But the next blow will be the crack of the woodchopper's axe as Albion Park kicks off the southern Illawarra's show season.
A demolition derby, a camel race and fireworks will provide the spark at the end of tomorrow's proceedings, while an animal nursery will be operating all day.
These bells and whistles will please the crowds but the heart of a country show is the agricultural class prizes, with stock and produce graded and ribbons attached to the finest.
Albion Park Show Society president Michael Arthur said farmers were proud to show their work.
"Living on the land can be a hard life, but it's also a rewarding life," he said.
"To see your cattle there, or your vegetables, the end result of your hard work, it's great to display.
"I come from a dairy farm and I love being part of the agricultural show to display these things to people that might not get to see it much.
"There's not much of it around anymore - especially dairy farms. This area used to be abundant with dairy farms, and there's not many around now.
"A lot of people who might have moved down from Sydney mightn't have had the opportunity to get close to cows, goats, and so on.
"It's a good experience for them to enjoy."
He will attempt to ride a camel in the race - having never tried it before.
Billed as "the biggest little show on the coast", Albion Park's festivities will include fireworks at 9pm tomorrow.
Country shows have been boosted by funding from the NSW government, which has kicked in $30,000 for Albion Park and Kangaroo Valley, and more than $43,000 for each of Kiama, Berry and Nowra, among $5 million in support for shows statewide.
"It has been a tough few years for country shows, with drought, bushfires, storms, floods and COVID-19 disrupting plans, but as they say, the show must go on and this funding will help make that a reality for these local agricultural shows," Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said.
"Country shows are the heartbeat of so many rural communities.
"They not only celebrate the best of the best in our local communities but also allow visitors to experience the tastes, sights and sounds of our beautiful region," he said.
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