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The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

Despite some rainy days, nothing could put a dampener on the festive atmosphere and bustle of activity at the Rand Show 2018, held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC) in Nasrec from Friday, 30 March, to Sunday, 8 April 2018.

Craig Newman, CEO of the JEC, says, “This year, our gate figures show a higher visitor attendance compared to last year – which proves that the Rand Show is still a firm family favourite and an important part of the Easter holidays in Gauteng.”

A visitor survey, conducted over the 10-day event, revealed the leading attractions at the 2018 Rand Show. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) displays, the Naked Scientist, the House of Horrors powered by 5FM, a – brand new feature at this year’s show –, the Animal Kingdom and Route 66.

SANDF displays

The Rand Show still a firm family favourite
The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

SANDF and its adrenaline-infused military displays have become synonymous with the Rand Show – the only event in South Africa where the public can witness the national defence force execute battle simulations and drills, complete with fighter jets, helicopters and artillery vehicles. This year, SANDF literally brought out their big guns, much to the awe and appreciation of the gathered crowds and remains the biggest draw card for visitors to the show.

The SANDF’s 12,000 square metre display also won the hearts of many families who learnt about the different offerings from the SANDF as well as the career opportunities for their kids.

The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

The Naked Scientist presented by 702

By popular demand, The Naked Scientist was back with a bang, performing to capacity crowds and was subsequently voted on of the year’s most popular attractions. Dr Chris Smith (aka “the Naked Scientist”) appeals to the whole family because of his unique ability to explain science through humour, myth busting exploits and explosive experiments. With over 50 million downloads of his podcast The Naked Scientists in the past five years, he’s arguably the world’s most famous and most loved scientist – as confirmed by the Rand Show attendees.

The Rand Show House of Horrors powered by 5FM

The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

A new addition at this year’s Rand Show was the House of Horrors. This attraction is modelled on the latest international trend of immersive theatre, where the audience – small, intimate groups of no more than 20 people in this case – wander through and interact with a fantastical nightmare-scape, complete with modern multi-media effects, actors, elaborate props and many surprises. It’s not for the faint hearted, so its popularity proved that Rand Show attendees are a bold bunch.

The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

The Animal Kingdom

A great deal of thought and attention went into ensuring the Rand Show had plenty to entertain the little ones, including play zones with NERF guns and LEGO, children’s entertainment at The Festival Stage, and live animal shows at the Animal Kingdom. Snakebite Jones had two Slithery Snake Shows daily, starring some of Africa’s deadliest snakes such as the boomslang, black mamba, African rock python, puff adder, rinkhals and Mozambique spitting cobra. And Bryan Vorster put on a daily Free Flight Bird Show, featuring exotic feathered fowl like the Cape griffon vulture, blue and yellow macaws, and barn owls. Tamer beasts were also on show and could be handled, including the leopard tortoise, bull frog and brown house snake.

Rand Show Amusement Park

This year the Rand Show extended its hours to include even more time for fun in the ever-popular amusement park that stayed open until 21:00 daily. This gave visitors the chance to cram in some extra time to thrill and terrify themselves on a range of rides.

Castle Africa 5s presented by Rand Show

The Rand Show hosted the South African leg of the Castle Africa 5s amateur five-a-side soccer tournament that culminated in sixteen teams fighting it out at the Rand Show for a chance to compete at the African Continental finals – and win an all expenses trip to the FIFA World Cup in Russia in June. Paps Moffat commentated through the nail-biting play-offs, and ultimately the Milanos ended up winning the trip to Zambia:

The Festival Stage

The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

With a packed line-up of quality entertainment from 10am to 9pm daily, it’s no surprise that the Festival Stage was buzzing throughout the Rand Show. Some of the highlights included:

  • The Rand Show Extreme Bodies Competition
  • Mr and Miss Rand Show
  • The inaugural Gospel Sundays presented in association with Rainbow FM, featuring artists from Joyous, Loyiso Bala, The Plain Truth and Overjoy.

    Experience India

    The very best of vibrant India was on display at the Rand Show. Visitors could feast on culinary delights, while their senses were also treated to sensory delights in the form of music, dance and an eastern Bridal Fashion show.

    Best of the Best brought to you by Tile Africa and The Home Channel

    The Rand Show still a firm family favourite

    Following on the success of the inaugural Best of the Best event in 2017, the event returned this year to showcase great South African design in association with Tile Africa and The Home Channel. No entries are accepted for this competition, instead a panel of industry experts handpicked a few local designers to showcase, using criteria such as uniqueness and standard of manufacture. The results were stunning, and the beautifully curated collection of designs blew visitors away.

    125th anniversary

    “Although one Rand Show has just ended, we are already excited for next year,” says Newman. “2019 will be out 125th anniversary, so you can expect us to really pull out all the stops to make it even bigger and even better. Mark it in your diaries now, as you won’t want to miss this one!”

    The Rand Show 2019 will run from Friday 19 – Sunday 28 April 2019, and will include a number of special highlights for its 125 year celebrations.

  • 18 Apr 2018 11:52