The Ashburton Show is held on the weekend following Labour Weekend of every year and is the largest two day annual agricultural event held in the Mid Canterbury District.
Hosted at the Ashburton Showgrounds on 17.4 hectares of land owned by the Ashburton Agricultural & Pastoral Association since it’s founding in 1877. Ashburton A&P Association’s mission statement is to “Promoting excellence in agriculture and goodwill between Town and Country”.
The show attracts exhibitors from all over the South Island. Each year the President chooses a ‘Show Theme’ and many exhibits/competitions are based around this theme.
The Show offers strong two day competition for Horses, Dog Trials and one day competition for Sheep/Wool/Pet Lambs, Cattle (Dairy, Beef & Calves), Poultry, Alpacas, Shearing, Goats, Donkeys, Grain & Seeds, Highland Dancing, Tiny Tots and Home Industries for adults and students. All Events are well supported offering a good standard of competition to competitors. Over 190 sites compliment the Livestock Competitors together with Food, Music, Displays Entertainment and Competitions.
A brief history of the Ashburton A & P Association
The Ashburton A & P Association was formed on 1 October 1877 when a meeting of farmers was held at the Somerset Hotel and its first show was held on November 15 1878 probably at Tinwald.
The first President was John Grigg of Longbeach who held the position for two years, photos of all the past Presidents of Ashburton A & P can be viewed in the A & P Lounge at the grounds and the minute books are in safe keeping at the Ashburton Museum.
In the 1920’s the show was a 2 day show during the week, later it became a 1 day show, then in the 1960’s became a day and a half, due to the number of horse entries then later a full two day show again.
The A & P in 1957 purchased and took over the old Ashburton Sale yards and extended the grounds towards the main road this gave the association valuable space which is well utilised at show time.
In the list of past Presidents a large number of family names keep turning up, there are several grandfathers, fathers and their sons who have held office.
Up till sometime in the 1930’s a Winter Show was held in the Arcade in Ashburton. Over the years we have organised a lot of related agricultural events such as ploughing matches, prime stock sales at Tinwald sale yards and until recently the annual ram fairs.
Between 1942-1944 there were no shows held due to WW 2 and the grounds were used as an army camp.
The annual show takes place at the end of October the week following Labour Weekend at the Associations Showgrounds at Brucefield Avenue Ashburton where there are excellent facilities for the public to enjoy.
The show is run by a small hardworking committee helped by a large team of volunteers who work together in the week prior to the show.
As far as show attractions we have an excellent ring for horse events and enough space for exhibitors including a large Home Industries Pavilion which replaced one that was burnt down in 1989 by an arsonist.
A standard has been set and the Committees over the years have worked tirelessly to provide, what is now known as, one of the best two day shows in the South Island attracting entries from a wide area.
We are involved with Methven and Mayfield A & P’s in the Winter Feed Competition.
The Ashburton A & P is fortunate to own their own grounds and these are hired out regularly to various groups during the year and it has been the home base since 1956 for the Mid Canterbury Rugby Union. In the summer months large show jumping events are held regularly in November and January along with other smaller horse events.
As we have to change with the times we need to keep looking forward in the future to ensure the continuation of the association.