By Mikayla van Loon
The Lilydale and Yarra Valley Show is preparing to return for 2022 after two years of cancellations but a desperate need for volunteers and new members is overshadowing the joy of returning.
Show secretary Heather Roberts said the society is in need of volunteers for general maintenance of the buildings, to help set up and for the running of the show in November.
With an ageing demographic of members, Ms Roberts said the unfortunate reality is that the Show may not continue if younger volunteers and society members don’t come onboard.
“We are losing many because we are getting older, unfortunately, they are passing away and that’s why we need some younger people to come in so they can learn what the show is all about, learn what is done behind the scenes before our society is no longer around,” she said.
Having been running for over 60 years, the thought of losing that history is not an option for the current executive team.
For Ms Roberts the Lilydale and Yarra Valley Show allows families and locals to create memories of joining in with the community in fun and discovery.
“It’s seeing the look on everybody’s face, especially the children, when they come in and they see the livestock, the horses and they see little animals and the rides or the showbags,” she said.
“Their parents probably attended, they’ve attended, their children are attending, we want their grandchildren and great grandchildren to be able to attend as well and get those memories.
“Yes, we’ve got the Royal Melbourne Show but sometimes people can’t afford to go to that show and we are pretty well priced so they get to go to this show.”
Needing up to 20 volunteers to help out in the lead up to the Show weekend on 19 and 20 November, Ms Roberts said it is a great opportunity for families to get involved or someone who “wants to see the Lilydale Show keep going,” without a big commitment.
“Apart from your self esteem of being a volunteer and helping out other people that makes you feel good, they get to see the show, they get to see the workings of how the show is run, they get to meet people and get to have pride in saying ‘I helped put this show together’.”
Hopeful that volunteers will also join as members, to which there is only one meeting per month, Ms Roberts said that way new ideas can be circulated.
“We just really need volunteers or members of the society to come in and put their young minds to use and their feedback, give us some inspiration, give us some new ideas.”
Although not alone in the lack of new people putting up their hand to volunteer, with other large show societies having similar issues, Ms Roberts said she hopes people will step away from screens and return to volunteering to get that reward of being involved in something.
Grateful for the financial support from the Federal government last year as the tenth largest show in Victoria, Ms Roberts said although the money kept them afloat, now the passion is to get back to normal, reconnect with people and grow as a society.
“We need to be able to put this show on but it’s not so much about the money. We want to do the show.
“We want everybody in the community to be happy and come back and say, ‘hey, look, we’re getting back to where we used to be’.”