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GALLERY: The Newcastle Show blending history with Tik Tok


It’s been a part of the city since 1902 and yet I’ve never been to the Newcastle Show. 

Admittedly I’ve only lived in the region since 2019, but I think 2023 is the year to submerge myself in another piece of Novocastrian history. 

I’ve got the tickets and I’ve checked the weather forecast. 

March 3 to 5, 2023: It’s all looking positive, despite a few forecast drizzles. 

Like all outdoor events it’s a case of “the show must go on”, I am told by general manager Emma Spencer. 

Emma represents one of the progressive changes the three-day, not-for-profit event has undergone in its 120 years. 

At 30 years old, she’s the show’s youngest boss and is determined to bring a fresh approach to a community event she says she’s always been passionate about. 

Newcastle born and raised, Emma brings not only events management experience to the role, but also fond memories from her childhood. 

“The show means so much to locals,” she said.

“It’s a tradition. It’s a community event and that’s what is most important. 

“I used to come as a kid and when I see the ticket booths on Curley Road filled with crowds, I still get excited.” 

Like the former steel city itself, The Show as it is affectionately known, has undergone changes over time. 

And, while its heritage can be seen in its Victorian-era grandstands and pavilions, it has subtly shifted some of its focus. 

“We’ve added so many new elements,” Emma says.

“But, it remains very important that we fit in with the traditional elements. 

“Years ago this was known as ‘the Hub’ because it connected community groups with hobby groups. 

“But, it’s also important to remember this is a competition. Locals compete here for points that can then take them to the Sydney Royal Show where they will represent Newcastle and the Hunter. 

“We have some very talented people competing here in everything from cake baking to cattle judging.” 

This year the timetable includes a Tik Tok star. 

Jen ‘jennnnaaayy’ Hanlon – Tik Tok star joins The Newcastle Show in 2023

“Jennnnaaayy [Jen Hanlon] is a Newcastle mum with a big following on Tik Tok,” Emma explains. 

“She’ll be assisting with judging some of the cookery competitions.” 

The schedule also includes musical performances from country rock act The Viper Creek Band and Phonic. 

The Showman’s Guild will also be bringing the usual rides – Space Jam, The Gravitron, 3XL, Breakdance, Twister and the Ferris Wheel, and the showbags (cue my excitement for a Bertie Beetle bag). 

The Newcastle Show 2023 general manager Emma Spencer

There are also 35 food stalls planned, as well as a bar for the adults after sunset. 

The Face of Facon model search is new to this year’s line-up, as is live fashion auctions, finance workshops, health clinics robotics classes. 

“But, make sure you appreciate the talents of the local agricultural competitors,” Emma reminds me. 

“There are some kids who would have slept over at the grounds to be ready in time to show their animals. 

“It’s important we remember to support our agricultural industry.” 

This year Emma says she is hoping to attract at least 30,000 visitors through the gates.  

I’m keen to be one of those, soaking up all the Newcastle Show has to offer.

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