Opening the 2019 Bellingen Show today, Elaine Leader noted that although much has changed since it began in 1881, it retains "a wonderful mix of the traditional and the contemporary".
Elaine received the Agricultural Shows medal from RAS delegate Charlie Hooke for her longstanding dedication to the Bellingen Show - 30 years as a volunteer and over 20 years as ringmaster and announcer for the equestrian events.
She noted that in the early days, the horse schedule had classes such as 'Best Blood Stallion', 'Best Draft Mare or Filly' and 'Best Generally Useful Farm Horse'.
These days, the horse breeds are more carefully specified and the cattle classes no longer have an award for 'Best Fat Ox'.
In fact, Elaine noted, the cattle section has a strong educational focus, with students from half a dozen high schools participating in the Young Judges and Paraders championships.
"The show is not just a major event in our community calendar, it is also a link to the history of our town and our region," Elaine said.
"Our vision for our show is 'a sustainable, inclusive community event which reflects the past, celebrates the present and looks to the future'."
She went on urge people who think the show is important and have a little spare time to consider becoming a volunteer in order to spread the load and tap into fresh new ideas.
"Committees age and the members get tired. New members are the lifeblood of any community organisation. The Bellingen community contains an amazing wealth of talent and expertise in many areas. We need to tap into this pool of talent if the show is to survive."
Tomorrow's events include Dairy Cattle Judging 9.30am; Vintage Motor Bikes and Cars display 10am; Mongrel Dog Show 10.15am; Young Farmers Challenge 12pm; Partner Carrying Competition 2pm.