When the Courier-Mail came out the weekend before the beginning of the Ekka, I was confused. What were these "show bags" that everyone was poring over, and why were they such a big deal?
I soon learned that Showbags are one of the reasons to go to the Ekka. Ranging from $2 to $60, these bags are put together by many of the most popular companies in Australia. This includes what seems to be every candy and toy company known to man, along with all the major alcohol breweries (for the parents). The most famous of all these bags is the $2 Bertie Beetle bag. This contains three or four Bertie Beetles (Nestle chocolate that is kind of like an American Krackel bar) along with lollipops and little useless do-dads, like "Genius at work" door hangers; the bag doesn't seem terribly special until you realize BBs aren't available anywhere else!
Showbags are best bought at the end of your Ekka visit so you don't have to worry about where to put them when doing other activities, like rides. However, we couldn't wait this long after seeing all the cool things people had acquired in the Showbag Pavilion.
The Pavilion was massive and absolutely swarming with people. Toys and candy logos jumped out at us from every booth, and people often ran into us with their arms full of stuffed bags. Fortunately, the layout is designed so that the cheapest bags are in front, so we didn't even bother tempting ourselves with more expensive gear from places like Bundaberg Rum; we were happy with anything $10 and under.
We quickly found what we entered the Pavilion in search of--big fuzzy hats. We had seen lots of people wearing these and knew our Ekka experience would not be complete until we had them ourselves. We had a choice between red, blue, pink, and purple at a reasonable price of $7 apiece. I got blue and Michelle got red, and we proudly sported them for the rest of the day.
Along with Bertie Beetles, of which I was required to buy at least 3 bags (I ended up getting 4 because they had a buy-three-get-one-free deal), I decided on a "Wonderful World of Wonka" bag. It had all of my favorite candies and was perfect for me - so much so that later, James actually guessed the exact bag that I bought. It had 2 packs of Gobstoppers, 2 packs of Nerds, a Nerds Rope, Oompas, and other assorted Wonka goodies, all for $10 ($15 if you wanted a funky purple fuzzy hat with it). I also bought James a $6 Freddo (Cadbury chocolate) bag, complete with plastic mug. I was later told that it was impressive to make it out of the Pavilion with only two big bags and a hat!
Michelle was absolutely in heaven once she found the showbags for all things sour. The Ultimate Sour Warheads Bag, sour sherbet, she had it all. It was amazing how many sour things she found!
We left the pavilion completely satisfied with our finds, which was good, since we had plenty of time to enjoy them when waiting in line for an ATM for 45 minutes! Even better than that was getting home and emptying the contents of the bags onto the floor like little kids (all the while, wearing our giant fuzzy hats)!