Ekka People’s Day — the official name of The Royal National Agricultural (R.N.A.) Show Day — takes place during the second or third week of August and takes place on this year. Ekka People’s Day usually falls on the sixth day of The Royal Queensland Show, which lasts for about 10 days. This Brisbane-only festival is the largest and most popular annual event on the Queensland calendar. The day is also a public holiday providing time off for all Brisbane residents.
History of Ekka People's Day
The day dates back to the 19th century when a group of colonists formed an agricultural and industrial association in Brisbane. Their main objective was to celebrate Queensland’s lifestyle and promote and further develop its agricultural and industrial sectors. Their intercolonial exhibition held for this purpose was inspired by the U.K.’s International Exhibitions. The day was declared a public holiday to encourage participation. Their efforts were successful, and around 17,000 people attended opening day. At the time, if you consider that Brisbane’s population was only about 20,000 people, this amounted to a great turnout. Locals considered this first show — called the Brisbane Exhibition, significant as it was the first major event since Queensland separated from New South Wales in 1859. The show has been held at the same location ever since — the Brisbane Exhibition Ground in Bowen Hills.
Later, other regions in Queensland established their own annual shows. Southeast Queensland holds its celebration in the same week as Ekka People’s Day.
This day has been celebrated each year, except for two occasions — in 1919 when the Spanish Flu broke out, and in 1942, during World War II, to free the grounds for a staging depot. Initially, the show offered the opportunity for people to demonstrate their agricultural and industrial inventions, but the purpose gradually shifted to include more public attractions, although agriculture features prominently in the celebrations. Funfairs, food, and an item called The Showbag are an essential part of this experience. Showbags typically contain food or novelty items, which are sold by companies and organizations.
Ekka People's Day timeline
Colonists come together and establish the National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland.
The very first Ekka People's Day is held on August 22, although it is only an intercolonial exhibition at this time.
Edward, Prince of Wales, visits the exhibition and gives permission to change the name of the association, adding a Royal prefix to the name.
His Majesty King George V signs a warrant granting the Royal prefix to the National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland.
Showbags, a popular attraction at the Ekka People's Day show, are in abundance this year with 362 show bags available to attendees.
The tourism industry proposes Ekka People's Day be moved to a Friday instead of a Wednesday just for this year to boost the industry.
Ekka People's Day FAQs
Is Ekka Cancelled for 2022?
As of December 2021, The RNA Show commences on Friday August 5, 2022. Ekka People’s Day is scheduled for Wednesday, August 10, 2022.
What is the point of Ekka?
Ekka (The Royal Queensland Show) is Queensland’s largest and most loved annual event, attracting on average 400,000 people. Run by the RNA (The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland), Ekka brings the country and city together for a true celebration of agriculture.
Does Gold Coast get an Ekka holiday?
Versions of this public holiday are celebrated in multiple regions in Queensland. Most places have a different day from Brisbane, although some have it in the same week.
How to Observe Ekka People's Day
Gorge on 'Ekka' food
Check out the food usually eaten at this show, and try your hand at making the same dishes (or at least an approximation, given the ingredients you have). Some traditional ekka food includes cotton candy, Dagwood dogs (a version of the corn dog), fruit cakes, jam-and-cream scones, and burgers and chips.
Take the day off
Take a leaf out of the Brisbane residents' book and take the day off from work or school, if you can, and do what you love. Catch up with friends, relax at home, or watch a movie.
Plan fun competitions with friends
Competitions are the heart of Ekka People's Day. They host varied and diverse contests for cake decorating, eating, and even wood-chopping. Ideas to host your own backyard contest include beauty contests, best recipes, or animal races.
5 Fun Facts About The Royal Queensland Show
The first showbag
Participants in the very first show were given a free bag of coal, the precursor to today's show bag.
Why it is called 'Ekka'
Queensland vernacular popularly shortens 'Exhibition' to 'Ekka.’
One show, multiple names
The day is also called the Royal Queensland Show holiday or the Exhibition holiday.
This is Queensland's biggest event
Each year, almost 400,000 people visit Queensland in August to celebrate this festival.
The 'Ekka winds'
The week leading up to this day often sees chilly westerly winds descend on Brisbane and are dubbed the 'Ekka winds.'
Why Ekka People's Day is Important
We can visit another country
A major cultural event such as Ekka People's Day provides a glimpse into how similar-yet-different people on another continent live. We can see the differences, even if it’s only through their food.
See the best of Queensland
By learning about (and celebrating) the largest event in Queensland, we can get to know this place a little. We certainly want to visit, maybe even in August.
This is a day for play
Rides, animal petting, food — these sound like the makings of a fun and lively day. No matter how old you are, there is always a little excitement at the thought of a visit to a fair, and Ekka People's Day is just the thing to reawaken your inner fun-loving spirit.
Ekka People's Day dates