The Parndana Show Society on Kangaroo Island South Australia was delighted to be able to hold its annual show on Saturday November 14th. The weather for the day could not have been better and this gave the local community one of its first chances to gather in a social setting post COVID-19 and the summers bush fires. A record crowd of 1948 people came out and enjoyed the day together, this was an increase of 600 people on last years record breaking number when the society held its 60th show event.

The Parndana Show continues to grow each year making it one of the Island’s leading event each year. This year proving it can be possible to hold a Covid safe event and continue to bring the community together even in troubling years. The Parndana community was founded on support and mateship following the second world war and the soldier settlement scheme, these are traits that continue throughout our community and keep us strong.

As a whole, the day was a great success with record numbers of entries in the horses in action competition. Our shearing competition was also popular through out the day providing entertainment to the crowd. Although not to our usual quantity of entries for our pavilion display, there was still a great display of colour and quality of entries throughout the pavilion.

A point of concern prior to the event was whether we could manage capacity limits in both the pavilion and shearing shed, but with COVID marshals in place and the understanding from the community for these regulations traffic flow through these area ran smoothly all day with no crowding occurring. People understood the need for all people to see the exhibits and did not stay in each area longer then they needed to. The use of well positioned signage, arrows and marshalling throughout indoor areas does help to manage these high volume areas.

As most shows look to how they too can hold a COVID-19 safe event we can see how it would easily be possible for small show to achieve as we did. If shows follow the regulations set out by their state government and implement a COVID management plan and depending on land area we can see shows easily having a crowd up to 5000 people through their gates. For larger shows it too can be possible, but crowd management would have to be a priority and COVID marshal staff would have to be hired for the day. We hired a staff of 20 people for the day to manage this for us and happy with their work for the day, although this does add an extra cost to societies that they will have to consider or find volunteers that are happy to manage the task for the day. South Australian current regulations is one COVID marshal per 100 people.

We also made it a requirement that all sites have a registered COVID marshal and a safety plan for their site. We asked that they manage crowds in and around their area and keep things hygienic throughout the day. Most sites understood our requirements that we asked of them to make this a COVID safe event, but there were others that were reluctant to follow the rules we set. We stated in our paperwork for site bookings that these were requirement upon applying for a space and approval would not be approved without the appropriate paperwork.

Contact tracing is a requirement for large event and can be easily be managed as we did, however be mindful that this can add to time at the gate and can lead to queuing as did with our event. People were respectful of this requirement and happy to do the right thing. 40 percent of people coming through our gate used our pre-fill form we provided leading up to the event which helped speed things along, we also had QR codes on hand, but unfortunately our community wasn’t up to date with the latest technology and manual records had to be taken.

Pre-purchased tickets could be a solution to this issue if the appropriate contact records are taken when the sale occur but check with your state government officials if they accept this process. We made our event this year free of charge to the public so didn’t have the need for this process, however, it is one to look into if you have the systems in place for ticket sales.

Other things to consider for events to go head is things like cleaning staff and toilet facilities.

For our event to be socially distanced we hired portable toilets for the day to space these out throughout the event area and also had cleaning staff for the day to keep toilet areas clean, tables and eating areas and just general maintenance cleaning throughout the day. Again, these are added cost that shows will have to consider for their event in the future or depending on your community and the number of volunteers you have available. We chose for this year to spend the extra money on these needed items as to give our volunteers, supporters and community the day off to enjoy themselves.

If you have any further question or need some support we are here to answer any of your questions any time

Nicholas Tremaine

President, Parndana Show Society