The Victorian Winter Fair's reputation for being prepared to try something different will be enhanced this year with a novel approach to selling animals.
The fair, now in its fifth year, will be held from Tuesday, July 3, to Thursday, July 5, at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre at the Prince of Wales showgrounds at Bendigo, Vic.
One of the event's organisers Clare Modra said the organisers had decided to try something different with the sale after discussing ways to improve it after last year's event.
They came up with the idea of a 'silent auction'.
Animals to be sold will have to be entered in the show but will be sold through Elders's online platform. The silent auction will open seven days before the last day of the show.
The animals will be displayed in the show stalls as part of the show strings of their owners. Information about sale lots will also be displayed at the Northern Herd Development stand at the show.
The sale will close on the Thursday morning and successful bidders will be announced at the show.
Mrs Modra said the organisers had decided to try the new approach because they recognised things had been tough in the industry for the past couple of years and wanted to offer people a cost-effective way of selling.
Another change this year will see an additional class in the junior show.
Mrs Modra said class 7 for a winter calf born from July 1 to September 30 of the previous year always attracted huge numbers and they had trouble fitting them all into the show ring. So the class will be split.
A new feature added last year ù a Junior Judging Competition ù will be held again this year on the Tuesday, allowing aspiring judges to compete against each other.
Mrs Modra said organisers had received a lot of positive feedback about that event last year.
The main judge for the show is Justin Burdette, of Windy Knoll View Farm, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, United States.
Mrs Modra said a lot of people were excited to show their animals under Mr Burdette.
He hadn't judged in Australia before but had judged at a lot of other shows internationally and had a great reputation.
He was renowned as a real cow man - something the Victorian Winter Fair organisers strived to have in their judges. He milks the cows he breeds himself, Mrs Modra said.
The associate judge is Henry Bevan, Bevandale Holsteins, Ravenshoe, Queensland.
The Victorian Winter Fair has made a niche for itself in the show schedule.
Its timing is ideal for autumn calvers but it also means cows are being shown in cool conditions, which suits them better.
The Bendigo facility is first class and allows all the animals to be housed and shown under the same roof. It has excellent facilities for exhibitors including powered van sites and laundry, toilet and shower facilities.
The centre also has a heated dining/bar area that looks out across the show ring, allowing spectators to watch and hear the show in comfort.
Bendigo was central for everyone in Victoria and reasonably accessible for people from South Australia and New South Wales.
The fair also had a strong focus on young people. It is held during the Victorian school holidays, allowing families to attend and young people to be involved in the youth show.
"Everyone likes that it is in the school holidays," Mrs Modra said. "It's a family-friendly event. It's great to see all the young kids getting in there and having a good time."