Ten or so years ago it looked as if the lights were going out on the annual Pambula Show.
But over the last decade, something big has turned it around to make it a busy, bustling event with hundreds of people pouring through the gates.
According to show society president Russell Fitzpatrick, the formula is simple.
“We have a committee of four people,” he laughs.
“No-one argues, they each have their allotted area of concern and they just get on with it.
“We don’t get bogged down worrying about whose toes we might step on or waste time conferring about every decision. We just trust one another to do what’s best for the common good. ..and so far, so good.
“We have a sideshow ally if people with kids want to spend their money, but we’ve made sure that there are free things too, so that if they don’t want to part with hard earned dollars they’ll still get plenty of entertainment.”
Those free things included a climbing wall, a jumping castle and pig racing as well as events to catch the eye, like the wood chopping or oyster shucking.
There were vintage cars to see, historic machinery to learn about and a pavilion which boasted more than 700 entries this year.
Gwen Moffatt is a member of the Gordon family, which has been supporting the local show for at least five generations.
Her comments upon opening the show said a great deal about the Pambula community and its tenacity.
“Over many decades our family – like many others – has always thought that the annual show is special and a reflection of the kind of community we have here,” she said.
“It’s changed over time with new events coming and old ones being dropped, just like the community has changed, but show time is still a time to get together and show the pride we have in our town.
“It’s a great achievement for local people.”
As the first show of the south east show season, Pambula has set the bar impressively high.
Well done to the four musketeers!