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Easter in Sydney is marked by the arrival of the Royal Easter Show – a 12-day extravaganza where the bush meets the city and troupes of ‘carnival people’ make their way to the big smoke.

Nomadic workers are the lifeblood of the annual agricultural carnival who work together on games, rides, stalls, showbags, and attractions to give excited kids and adults alike a day to remember.

Even Aussie star Nikki Webster made her way out to Homebush this week with seven-year-old Skylah and four-year-old Malachi – who only had eyes for the Harry Potter showbag.

The event’s 200th anniversary had a rocky start when four-year-old autistic boy Tristan Curtis almost flew into the air because his restraint on the Free Fall ride wasn’t locked in place on Sunday. He was rescued just in time.

Less than 48 hours later, carnival worker and father-to-be Pelesauma Faletolu, 17, was tragically stabbed to death in a horrific brawl. Police are yet to formally identify a suspect and believe the attacker may still be on the run.

Despite grappling with bloodshed and near disaster, resilient workers cast their feelings aside and got on with the show.

When Daily Mail Australia asked ride and game operators whether they refer to themselves as ‘carnies’, some smiled and rolled their eyes, while others sternly replied: ‘We’re showies’.

Pamela (pictured right with a colleague) has two kids with a showman, but says she won't be classified as a show woman until she marries her partner

Pamela (pictured right with a colleague) has two kids with a showman, but says she won't be classified as a show woman until she marries her partner

Pamela (pictured right with a colleague) has two kids with a showman, but says she won’t be classified as a show woman until she marries her partner

Geordie (pictured) is 19 and hasn't been working at shows for long, but she instantly fell in love with the nomadic lifestyle

Geordie (pictured) is 19 and hasn't been working at shows for long, but she instantly fell in love with the nomadic lifestyle

Geordie (pictured) is 19 and hasn’t been working at shows for long, but she instantly fell in love with the nomadic lifestyle

Kev, 32, works at the NRL game and became a showman because his parents worked at shows. 'I grew up on the road,' he said

Kev, 32, works at the NRL game and became a showman because his parents worked at shows. 'I grew up on the road,' he said

Kev, 32, works at the NRL game and became a showman because his parents worked at shows. ‘I grew up on the road,’ he said

Nigel, 40, has been touring with shows since he was five. His parents were showies in the '80s, but he doesn't expect his kids to follow in his footsteps

Nigel, 40, has been touring with shows since he was five. His parents were showies in the '80s, but he doesn't expect his kids to follow in his footsteps

Nigel, 40, has been touring with shows since he was five. His parents were showies in the ’80s, but he doesn’t expect his kids to follow in his footsteps

‘Carnival is an American word’, Candy said, from her post at the Net A Character Sesame Street game.

‘In Australia, we have shows. We’re showmen, or showies’. 

However, as 26-year-old Laughing Clowns manager Pamela explained, workers have to earn their stripes before they can be called ‘showies’.

‘To be classified as a showie, you have to work a few shows,’ she said.

‘It’s a hard one because you can’t do one here and there – you have to work a few, otherwise you’re just a casual staff member.

‘If you know someone in the industry you can be given that title, but otherwise it’s hard to get – it’s kind of in your blood.’

When asked how she landed the title, Pamela laughed: ‘Because I had a baby with a showman.’

‘He’s a showie, but I’m not classified as a show-woman until I marry him.

Cory, 18, started working with shows through a friend. He's always wanted to make people happy and says being a showie is his dream job

Cory, 18, started working with shows through a friend. He's always wanted to make people happy and says being a showie is his dream job

Cory, 18, started working with shows through a friend. He’s always wanted to make people happy and says being a showie is his dream job

The Grand Parade (pictured) has been a feature of the event since 1907 and showcases dancers, singers and circus performers

The Grand Parade (pictured) has been a feature of the event since 1907 and showcases dancers, singers and circus performers

The Grand Parade (pictured) has been a feature of the event since 1907 and showcases dancers, singers and circus performers

Lucien, 40, is a fisherman by trade but decided to help a friend out selling Kewpie dolls at the Royal Easter Show

Lucien, 40, is a fisherman by trade but decided to help a friend out selling Kewpie dolls at the Royal Easter Show

Lucien, 40, is a fisherman by trade but decided to help a friend out selling Kewpie dolls at the Royal Easter Show

Groups of teenagers gathered at the show to make the most of the Easter holidays. The group of girls pictured were excited for a day of rides and games

Groups of teenagers gathered at the show to make the most of the Easter holidays. The group of girls pictured were excited for a day of rides and games

Groups of teenagers gathered at the show to make the most of the Easter holidays. The group of girls pictured were excited for a day of rides and games

‘My kids are classified as show kids – because my daughter’s dad is a showman, everyone in the business treats her like a show kid.’

While Pamela loves her job, she said it’s not all fun and games.

‘It’s a hard job because you’re on your feet all day, but it’s great because you get to meet so many people – and they’re people you wouldn’t normally meet,’ she said.

‘But it’s a hard slog.’

Some ride and game operators are seasoned showies who inherited the job from their parents – like Nigel, 50, who works with Candy and has been travelling with different fairs since he was five.

‘I’ve been working at the Easter Show for 45 years,’ he said.

‘My parents were doing this in the ’80s and I’ve been travelling around ever since.’

The Royal Easter Show is the nation's largest ticketed annual event, attracting an average of 828,000 attendees each year. Pictured: A man at the temporary tattoo stand

The Royal Easter Show is the nation's largest ticketed annual event, attracting an average of 828,000 attendees each year. Pictured: A man at the temporary tattoo stand

The Royal Easter Show is the nation’s largest ticketed annual event, attracting an average of 828,000 attendees each year. Pictured: A man at the temporary tattoo stand

The Grand Parade featured a range of circus performers (pictured) who sung and did tricks on floats as they the show

The Grand Parade featured a range of circus performers (pictured) who sung and did tricks on floats as they the show

The Grand Parade featured a range of circus performers (pictured) who sung and did tricks on floats as they the show

Performers in brightly-coloured costumes dominated the Grand Parade, which is on three times during the show - on April 9, 11, and 16 at 4.30pm

Performers in brightly-coloured costumes dominated the Grand Parade, which is on three times during the show - on April 9, 11, and 16 at 4.30pm

Performers in brightly-coloured costumes dominated the Grand Parade, which is on three times during the show – on April 9, 11, and 16 at 4.30pm

Water rides were the most popular, with people queueing up to cool off on a hot day. Shrieks of joy could be heard from hundreds of metres away from the showground

Water rides were the most popular, with people queueing up to cool off on a hot day. Shrieks of joy could be heard from hundreds of metres away from the showground

Water rides were the most popular, with people queueing up to cool off on a hot day. Shrieks of joy could be heard from hundreds of metres away from the showground

The father-of-two said he would never retire, but acknowledged the gig has its ups and downs.

‘I’ve just come back from five weeks at the Adelaide Fringe Festival working 10am until 2am – long days, but it’s not as busy as this,’ he said, gesturing towards hoards of over-excited children.

‘You’re on your feet all the time and when you get older you get arthritis and discs popping out and sore feet, but other than that it’s good.’

Even though he followed in his parents’ footsteps, Nigel doesn’t expect his kids to do the same.

‘My daughter used to work with me but now she’s a qualified chef,’ he beamed.

‘My son is a photographer at a raceway in Brisbane and he’s only 19.’ 

Kev, 32, works at the NRL stand and is also the child of showies.

‘Growing up on the road wasn’t too bad,’ he said.

‘I never got into trouble and kept my head low.’

EASTER SHOW SUPERFANS: 

While most people head to the show early in the morning to get the most out of their $45 day pass, some loyal fans become members of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and pay $101 for unlimited VIP entry to the event.

Members get discounts on rides, some games, and access to members-only areas and facilities – such as a cloak room, lounge area, bar, seating in the woodchop stadium, wifi, and more.

Sisters Claire, 23, and Allastaire, 26, have VIP passes and try to spend as much time as possible at the show.

‘We come pretty much as many days as we can every year because our mum buys our membership for us, so we try to catch a bit of everything,’ Claire said.

‘Especially the wood chopping.’

Claire, 23, (left), her sister Allastaire, 26, (centre) and their friend Liz. 30, all have VIP passes to the show

Claire, 23, (left), her sister Allastaire, 26, (centre) and their friend Liz. 30, all have VIP passes to the show

Claire, 23, (left), her sister Allastaire, 26, (centre) and their friend Liz. 30, all have VIP passes to the show

Another couple, both 21, said they were really concerned about Covid, but put their fears on hold to enjoy the show with full VIP access.

‘We’re really worried about Covid,’ he said.

‘But hey, it’s the Easter Show!’

‘We went as many days as we could last year too, but this year is better – there are more people and it’s so much better.’

The show was cancelled in 2020 to stop the spread of Covid-19, western Sydney turned into a Covid hotspot, and Sydney Olympic Park – where the Easter Show is held – temporarily turned into a vaccination centre.

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Giant balloons were popular among younger children at the show. Young travellers have jumped at the chance to work at Sydney's Iconic show, which runs from April 8 to April 19

Giant balloons were popular among younger children at the show. Young travellers have jumped at the chance to work at Sydney's Iconic show, which runs from April 8 to April 19

Giant balloons were popular among younger children at the show. Young travellers have jumped at the chance to work at Sydney’s Iconic show, which runs from April 8 to April 19

Multi-skilled game operators showcased talents, such as juggling, to draw customers in and try their luck

Multi-skilled game operators showcased talents, such as juggling, to draw customers in and try their luck

Multi-skilled game operators showcased talents, such as juggling, to draw customers in and try their luck 

The day was filled with roaming performers, all hoping to keep the audience entertained with their roaring talent

The day was filled with roaming performers, all hoping to keep the audience entertained with their roaring talent

The day was filled with roaming performers, all hoping to keep the audience entertained with their roaring talent

Some workers were given the gig as teenagers and never left, while many younger workers are relatively new to the lifestyle – like 18-year-old Cory who works on the Rock ‘n’ Roll ride.

‘I’ve been doing this for a year and it’s my dream job,’ he said.

‘All I wanted to do was make people happy, and that’s what I’m doing.’ 

Lucius, 40, is a fisherman by trade, but decided to help a friend out at The Fairy Factory stall selling Kewpie dolls.

‘It’s a part time thing – I’m helping a friend out,’ he said. ‘But it’s good so far.’

Geordie, 19, only started working at the Angry Bird Shoot game this year after visiting a show with her family in Melbourne.

‘I thought it wouldn’t be a bad job, and I spoke to a manager there and the next day I started and I fell in love with it,’ she said.

‘We travel for a couple of months, and we go all the way up to Cairns, then South Australia – it’s just a completely different lifestyle. 

Nikki Webster went to the show with her daughter Skylah and son Malachi, who were keen to get Harry Potter showbags

Nikki Webster went to the show with her daughter Skylah and son Malachi, who were keen to get Harry Potter showbags

Nikki Webster went to the show with her daughter Skylah and son Malachi, who were keen to get Harry Potter showbags

Other popular showbags included Barbie, Bluey and Frozen. One showbag worker said she sold out of Bluey bags in 2021

Other popular showbags included Barbie, Bluey and Frozen. One showbag worker said she sold out of Bluey bags in 2021

Other popular showbags included Barbie, Bluey and Frozen. One showbag worker said she sold out of Bluey bags in 2021

Kids filled the showbag pavilion and ran excitedly from stall to stall trying to decide which ones to get

Kids filled the showbag pavilion and ran excitedly from stall to stall trying to decide which ones to get

Kids filled the showbag pavilion and ran excitedly from stall to stall trying to decide which ones to get

‘It’s such a fun job and you get to meet so many different people – my favourite part is you make all these kids so happy.’    

Popular showbags included Bluey, Barbie and Frozen-themed bags.

But Nikki Webster’s kids, Skylah and Malachi, were excited for the Harry Potter bags.

‘I’m looking around at all the showbags, but it’s all about the Harry Potter bags for us this year,’ the Strawberry Kisses singer said.

‘I have the Bertie Beatle bag, but that’s nostalgic and just for me – I used to love those bags when I was a kid.’

The 34-year-old was at the show because her performing arts company, Nikki Webster Dance, performed in the amphitheater.

‘It’s just a great time for the family to get together and celebrate my three studios – they all come together to perform so it’s a big family day, it’s great,’ she said.  

The Royal Easter Show closes on April 19.

Source: DailyMail

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