Animals, fairy floss, rigged carnival games...none of it matters. Every year, the Royal Melbourne Show boils down to one thing: what’s in the showbags.
For some reason buying Cadbury bars, Chupa Chups and other ordinary stuff you can get year-round, practically anywhere, becomes wildly exciting when they’re bulk-sold in novelty plastic bags. Who knows why. It’s just one of those quirks of human nature.
This year the Show has a whopping 375 showbags on offer, stuffed with everything from old-school inflatable hammers (parents’ favourite) to bath salts and body lotion. Let’s skip the mental angst: these are the bags you need in 2017.
1. For Nostalgia | Bertie Beetle
The showbag’s showbag. This thing has been going strong for decades, even with generations that have never seen a Bertie Beetle in the wild (they’ve been a showbag-only thing since a shady Nestle deal in 1970). These bags defy inflation: they’re STILL only $2, the cheapest bag you’re gonna find. Bertie fanatics can upgrade that to the ‘Diamond Deal’, which is 50 beetles for $15. That’s almost enough for a hive.
2. For Loyalty | Jumbo Classics
Show regulars know you shouldn’t stray too far from the old faithfuls. Every year the Show tempts you with younger, hotter showbags, but they’ll never replace the classics. Good thing Cadbury Dairy Milk, Chupa Chups and Allens Lollies bags will all be available in Jumbo size this year. Load up the value and go nuts.
3. For Dr Who Fans | Dr Who
This thing’s like a well-stocked Tardis. You get a Dr Who backpack, Dr Who tote bag, Dr Who cap, Dr Who reading light, Dr Who travel mug and Dr Who stationary set. Buy for anyone that really, really hates Dr Who.
4. For Value | World’s Biggest Jumbo
$56.90 worth of value, packed into a neat $20 package. We’re not gonna list everything in this elephant-sized bag (we’d be here all night). Suffice to say you get enough sugar to keep you buzzing until Easter, plus a giant inflatable plastic bat, perfect for hitting siblings, parents or people who think they’re war heroes just because they like scary rides.
5. For Hawthorn Supporters | AFL Team Showbags
A steal every year. You can get this showbag in any team colours you want, provided that team is Adelaide, Brisbane. Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, West Coast or Bulldogs. For some reason all the other teams got left out. Whoever decided they’d shift more Fremantle bags than Hawthorn bags at the Melbourne Show...we salute you.
6. For A Splurge | Big Tent Pamper Pack
The most expensive showbag at the Show, clocking in at a cool $199. Having to face your partner and tell them you just spent $200 on a showbag...you want to have something to show for it. Fortunately this one comes stuffed with luxe skincare goods like triple-strength seaweed collagen face cream, mineral mud from Hepburn Springs and a Sandalwood facial exfoliant. RRP $213. Score.
7. For Your Grandma | CWA Showbag
The Country Women’s Association of Victoria are widely known as the greatest scone bakers this country has ever seen, and their showbag includes the actual CWA scone recipe (plus a set of CWA-approved scone cutters). You also get a laundry bag (“for delicates”), lavender, tea and Epsom Salts. Favourite Grandchild, here we come.
8. For The Kids | Peppa Pig
This was a tough choice (the Thomas The Tank Engine showbag comes with a plastic gardening set!) but with Peppa Pig you get a backpack, a tea set and—wait for it—a Peppa Pig tutu skirt. If that doesn’t make you the coolest kid in the sandpit, there’s something wrong with the world.
9. For Gym Junkies | Athletica Ultimate Fitness Pack
A strong contender for the best value at the show. Spend just $30 and you get $225.78 worth of fitness gear back (have Athletica gone into administration or something? This seems nuts). Gym bags, caps, ankle weights, gym towels, drink bottles, socks, coconut water, men’s lubricant (for some mysterious gym-related reason)—it’s all in there.
10. For Wonder Women | Wonder Woman
Some pretty sweet, old-school branding on this one. Wonder Woman fans can get their mitts on a Wonder Woman a beach towel, bag, notebook, pens, mug, keyrings and a costume tiara. All decked out in some classic 1940s design work.
11. For Rev Heads | Fast & The Furious
Every year there’s a showbag you buy because it has ONE good thing in it. The rest of the stuff doesn’t matter. You know it’s silly to buy a Fast & The Furious Showbag (you didn’t even LIKE Fast & The Furious that much), but those fluffy dice are calling to you. Just think how badass they’ll look hanging from the rear-view mirror of your Hyundai Accent.
12. For Yanks | All American
A showbag for all your United States mates, the ones who get their mum to send over Nestle Butterfingers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Personally, we’re excited by the Tangy Buffalo Wings-flavoured Pringles. Can they topple Sour Cream & Onion? Let’s find out.
13. For Stealth | Ninja
If you’re tired of enemies anticipating your every move, you probably need this. It’s a ninja-themed showbag that comes with a ninja bow & arrow set, ninja swords, ninja throwing star things and a ninja mask (so no-one will know your ninja identity). Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
The Royal Melbourne Show kicks off Saturday 23 September and runs until 3 October. Pencil it in, pronto.
Don't tell your dentist: cookie dough doughnut sandwiches just arrived in Melbourne.
Image credit: Royal Melbourne Show