By HARRY CLARKE
THE six-page document is as compelling and appetising as the smorgasbord of premium beef dishes that ticket holders will be served throughout the event.
BEEF 2021’s official program comprises an almost countless number of exhibits, talks, displays, performances, conferences, competitions and more to feature in and around Rockhampton throughout the first week of May.
The triennial event, first held in 1988, is primed to be “bigger and better than ever before” according to Beef Australia CEO Ian Mill, who’s confident BEEF 2021 will live up to the cliche phrase.
Now that some 26 months of strenuous planning is about to culminate from May 2-8, he said the organising committee couldn’t be more excited to be welcoming possibly more than the previous expo’s 100,000 visitors.
“The showground is just a hive of activity. There are cranes everywhere and a lot of bodies on the ground doing the preparations and it’s getting very exciting,” Mr Mill (pictured above right) said.
“We’ve increased the footprint of the event by about 20 percent since 2018 to accomodate a lot of extra trade sites and initiatives that we’re introducing.
“I suspect we might get more people than we’ve had in previous years, if current ticket sales are anything to go by. Especially coming out of Covid, people are very keen to get out and about.”
Mother nature has certainly played her part in building the excitement for BEEF 21.
Huge swathes of Queensland have received decent rain in recent weeks, boosting morale in the industry amid soaring cattle prices.
Importantly, the wider Rockhampton area has had nice downfalls for the first time in years. As always, more would help, but the timing of the March wet weather has been pleasing for producers across the host Capricorn region.
On Monday May 3, the expo’s flagship cattle judging will get underway, setting off a jam-packed week of events that have been divided into four categories – Cattle, Business & Industry, Food & Entertainment, and Education.
“A number of events are selling out quickly – especially the celebrity chef events, they’re always very popular,” Mr Mill said.
“We’ve got a lot of free events for the public as well. We just want to make sure that people can come in and enjoy themselves.
“We’ve got Bluey coming. That’s a free event that the kids will be excited about, and a special opera performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
“And of course there are the cattle. This is largest event of its kind showcasing cattle in the southern hemisphere. We’ll have about 5,000 cattle on the ground throughout the week.”
Rockhampton mayor Tony Williams is no stranger to his home city’s beef expos. Mr Williams served on the local regional council for 16 years before being elected mayor in February this year.
As a first time expo mayor, Mr Williams (pictured above left) said Rocky was abuzz with excitement for BEEF 2021.
“There’s real vibe about town. People are sprucing up their shops and polishing their boots to welcome everybody back for BEEF 2021,” he said.
“This is a fantastic time of year. There’s a coolness in the air. It’s great for business and our local economy when this event comes to town and it really does inject a lot of tourism dollars.
“This time around there’s plenty of activites in the CBD as well as the showground, so in that sense I think there’ll be a lot more of the community enjoying the event as well as the industry visitors who come.”