Horticultural expo celebrates 30 years

Countryman

The Perth Hills are set to come alive for the 30th anniversary of Karragullen Expo.

WA's leading horticultural event, held on October 12, will showcase the latest machinery and products, as well as presentations from well-known gardening experts, cooking demonstrations and free entertainment for families.

Event co-ordinator Roma Spiccia said Karragullen Expo had changed markedly over the years, from a purely industry-based event to a family-friendly affair.

"For the event to survive, it had to become more attractive to the wider community," she said.

In 1983, the Hills Orchard Improvement Group - comprised of a group of growers and two officers from the Department of Agriculture and Food - organised the first Karragullen Horticultural Field Day.

Their aim was simple, to promote modern fruit growing methods in the Perth Hills by showcasing a wide range of horticultural products in the one venue.

Since its debut, Ms Spiccia said the event had diversified in tune with the horticultural industry and in 2006 was renamed Karragullen Expo.

The expo now caters for hobby farmers and gardening enthusiasts, and boasts displays of fresh produce, wine and beer, gourmet foods and plants and herbs, as well as cooking demonstrations using local produce.

Best of all, there are plenty of free activities to keep the kids amused, including bouncy castles, pony rides and an animal farm.

Supervised fruit and vegetable kebab making will also be available in the I Love WA fruit kids' corner.

Ms Spiccia said new to expo this year was a glamorous fashion parade by Perth-based Bourne Events.

"We are excited to welcome Bourne Events, which will be conducting professional fashion parades at 11am and 2pm in the Valle Verde presentation marquee," she said.

Also new to the event will be information sessions from the Beyond Gardens team, held in the Bendigo Bank Beyond Gardens marquee.

Ms Spiccia said a range of free education sessions would also be of great interest to gardeners, including a presentation by well-known Lesmurdie horticulturalist Peter Coppin on the art of espalier.

Agricultural consultant Terry Freimond will impart his knowledge on growing avocadoes and 6PR gardening expert Sue McDougall will share the secrets of growing vegetables.

Meanwhile, history buff and Illawarra Orchards owner Tom Price and the Pickering Brook Heritage Group will once again pay tribute to the horticultural pioneers of the region.

Visitors will be amazed by their collection of photographs, machinery and memorabilia from years gone by.

With record exhibitor bookings, Ms Spiccia said this year's expo would be a memorable one.

"This year's event is set to be one of our best … the committee has worked extremely hard over the past 10 months," she said.

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