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Agricultural Shows You Really Shouldn’t Miss

Liezl Hesketh in Cool Features 


South Africa’s roots in the farming community are strong and as vibrant as ever! Many large provincial shows, like the Rand Easter Show, began life as an agricultural festival. Here are a few of the agricultural shows and festivals around the country. As things change easily and rapidly, please check the festival’s own website before heading out. And if you know of any festival that you think we’ve missed, please let us know and well add it with pleasure!

What: Ellisras Bushveld Festival
When: Early July, 2016.
Where: Lephalele, Limpopo Province. The festival is located in the Waterburg area of Limpopo, just 280km north of Pretoria.
Website: There doesn’t seem to be a website dedicated to the festival. But this site is likely to have information: Ellisras Bushveld Festival
What to expect: The festival, now in its 28th year, includes cattle shows, a game auction, horse jumping, dog shows, agricultural activities, a three-day battle for the best 4×4 competition, a game farms expo, hunting opportunities, bird- and tree-identification competitions, traditional food, a beer tent, huge camp fires and good music. There’s also vast amounts of the best and yummiest food around, including boerewors and other local traditional foods.

What: Hantam Vleisfees
When: Late August, 2016
Where: Calvinia, Northern Cape. About 450km from Cape Town – almost as far from Upington.
Website: Hantam Vleisfees
What to expect: Calvinia in the Northern Cape is sheep country, and this festival celebrates that, in a big way! There’s delicious lamb offered in almost every imaginable way; braaied, stewed, curried, in pita bread, on sosatie sticks, in potjies – you can even pick up a done-to-perfection sheep’s head for a mere R30. First held in 1989, the three-day Hantam Vleisfees has a music concert, street party, vintage car rally and – a highlight for many – the Miss Vleisfees competition. It’s a glittering affair with dinner and dancing. If you like lamb this is the festival for you!

What: Boertjie Kontreifees
When: Early September, 2016
Where: Bultfontein, Free State
Website: Boertjie Kontreifees.
What to expect: It’s a real family affair of an agricultural festival. There are nearly 340 stalls, ten of the country’s best artists, as well as buck, cars, cattle, horses, greyhounds, sheep, tractors and over 20 000 people enjoying the four days of sunshine and great food. There’s plenty of sport – cycling, kids rugby, netball, wrestling as well as a half marathon, wonderful food to eat, lots of competitions, championships and fun. Come and enjoy true South African hospitality.

What: The Rand Show
When: 25 March – 3 April, 2016
Where: Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec
Website: The Rand Show
What to expect: The legendary Rand Show is the biggest consumer show in Southern Africa. It was launched in 1894, and for the last 122 years it has become entrenched in the memories of everyone who grew up in the Highveld. Not even the Anglo-Boer War caused the Show to skip a beat.

The first show was an agricultural show on an old brickfield next to Milner Park. Its aim was to showcase the Transvaal farming community at its best with displays of their Best of Breed bulls and prized dairy stock. Farming equipment suppliers soon opened display stands and from there the modest agricultural show became today’s premier show in Southern Africa. Over 5000 exhibitors and presenters showcase their products and services over 8 acres to the 150 000 visitors over the ten day period.

There’s something for the entire family. Now, it’s the place to go to ‘Escape the Ordinary.’ Attractions like a Chef’s Theatre, because good food is a great experience, enjoy a top-class entertainment programme, the SANDF’s explosive arena displays, 10 days of live science shows in an extended Science & Technology Hall. When once it was a purely agricultural fair, the Rand Show now has 11 themed family friendly categories.

FASHION, BEAUTY and WELLNESS – Catch up on the world’s latest trends in accessories, beauty treatments, cosmetics, fashion, fitness equipment, fragrances, gyms, health products, spas and supplements.

FOOD EXPERIENCE – Give your taste buds a wild adventure with flavour experiences from cheese and chocolate tastings, delicacies, food markets, hot beverages, to wine. Linger and be tempted over the most up-to-date cookware, kitchen equipment, tableware and utensils.

HOME LIVING – Yearning for a better home lifestyle but aren’t quite sure exactly what that entails? Then come and be inspired with exhibits that include appliances, art, décor, design, furniture, green living, home improvements and services.

INTERNATIONAL MARKET SQUARE – Discover the best in international arts and crafts, cultural and tourism associations, décor and textiles, retail products and services from around the world.

KIDS KINGDOM – Kids entertainment at its best! Educational material, fashion, furniture, gaming, hobbies, toys, and more.

THE MAN CAVE – Boys and their toys! Brandy tastings, cars, collector’s items, fashion & accessories, gadgets, gaming, hobbies, motorbikes, sound systems, sport, whiskey & wine tastings and more.

SCIENCE & TECH LAB – Everything a curious and enthusiastic geek could want! The latest scientific and technological advancements in the fields of agriculture, astronomy, computer sciences, education, environmental science, geography, information technology, medicine, physics, science and telecommunications.

SHOWCASE SOUTH AFRICA – Here you will be able to find bursaries, corporate and parastatal’s services, CSI projects, developmental programmes, government, professional bodies, schools and universities.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE – South Africans love the great outdoors. Here you will find oodles of outdoor adventure including: 4 x 4 trails, camping equipment and destinations, outdoor adventures and sports equipment.

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE – If a gentler outdoor adventure is more your style then this category is for you. Dedicated to all aspects of outdoor living from accessories and equipment, awnings, decking, gardening, landscaping, outdoor furniture, pools, pottery and water features.

PETS & ANIMAL KINGDOM – No matter what kind of pet you have, you’ll find all your pet products, services, accessories, and educational programmes on pet and animal care here at the Rand Show.

And remember, wherever you are in South Africa, you’ll find accommodation on!