The Moores have conquered Ekka 2012! Well, as much as anyone CAN conquer the 136-year-old event. Have you been to the Ekka? It is freakin-bloody-awesome! This year was an entire day, a debaucherous bonanza of rides, food and fun – for only $255. Here’s how we did it.
Firstly, we planned our event. And by that I don’t mean we scheduled every minute. We didn’t schedule a single thing. But we planned ahead of time what we were going to do – ie we knew the kids would be going on rides for most of the day and we knew we were going to need to get inside the gate for that to happen. So I knew I needed gate entry and ride passes.
The night before the big day I looked at the Courier-Mail‘s most excellent Ekka Guide and picked out a couple of events I wanted the kids to see and that I wanted to see. I circled the times for those events (which were all free). They were the Dairy Farmers Milking Display, a beer and food matching session at the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion, and the Photography, Cake Decorating and Craft displays in the Fine Arts Pavilion.
Then I gave the guide to the kids and said they could choose ONE showbag with a maximum value of $20. They all did this after considerable debate, consultation and examination of the components of each bag.
Paying for the day:
We bought our family tickets through the RACQ for $55.80 (instead of $66 through the Ekka website).
We bought two $40 ride passes for $35 each, again through the RACQ (same price if we’d bought them via the Ekka website).
The kids got to ride on: the Fun House, the Big Slide, pony rides, bumper cars, bungee jumping, Jurassic Roller Coaster, and the Ferris Wheel.
Naturally, when you’re on a budget, the first thing you do is pack your own food. For the day I made: chicken and salad wraps (5), home-made biscuits, home-made wholemeal muffins, mandarins, two punnets of fresh strawberries, water bottles for the three kids, a flask of tea for hubby and me. The backpack was so heavy the straps broke! Oops. Hubby carried the backpack on his back for most of the day, and naturally it got lighter as the day went on.
However, we weren’t so tight with our money we didn’t budget for some Ekka food – that’s half the fun! So the plan was to get a Dagwood Dog and/or strawberry sundae.
Hubby and I got to the Woolworths Pavilion mid-afternoon and were seduced by the awesome cheese kranskys from the German Sausage Hut. This left us with no room for the Dagwood Dog, which I will eternally regret. Lucky there’s always next year! The kids were full from lunch and so didn’t want anything else either. *sigh* A lesson learned. I think the food at the Ekka is an important part of it and while we budgeted financially for the food, we failed to budget the stomach room for it! Next year!
By 4pm it was getting onto beer o’clock so hubby and I sat down for a Burleigh Brewing Company Pale Ale, which was superb. Frosty and delicious – perfect after a long day trekking around the RNA Showgrounds!
By then we decided it was time to head to the ferris wheel. Hubby wanted to ride while it was still light so to enjoy the view better. The ferris wheel has become a family tradition with us. It’s the last thing we do before we hit the showbag pavilion and then head on home. And this year the Showbag Pavilion was right beside the ferris wheel! Awesome!
A quick trip into the pavilion where the kids quickly found the showbag they had picked out and we were on our way!
Total cost for the day: $254.80
- Gate: $55.80
- Ride passes: $70
- Ferris Wheel: $36
- Showbags: $65
- Kranskys: $14 (7 each)
- Beers: $14 (7 each)
Where we really saved was transport. Hubby and I both work at Bowen Hills and were able to avail ourselves of the free car park at our place of work. From there it’s a five minute walk to the RNA Showgrounds.
It was easily our best Ekka ever because we planned things. Next year I think we’ll definitely need three ride passes. Two was just barely enough for our three kids.
Personally, I think $255 for a whole family to have a whole day of fun is a reasonable expense. We got to see lots of great stuff. Beer demonstrations, milking demonstrations, photography and paintings, craft, livestock, lots of rides and let’s not forget the wonderful people-watching opportunities Ekka presents. All walks of life represented and it’s a great smushing-together of people who wouldn’t normally be within cooee of each other.
We had an absolute ball. See you next year, Ekka!