The debate around what to do with the Launceston Show public holiday has reared its head again.
Now the show has been reduced to just one day for 2018, the Launceston Chamber of Commerce wants to see the public holiday scrapped.
The chamber instead would like the see the holiday moved elsewhere, perhaps married up with an already existing event.
It’s been mentioned before that the day should be shifted to Agfest, in line with a holiday that already exists on the North-West Coast.
Here, the Circular Head Council chose to do away with their Burnie Show public holiday, in exchange for an Agfest holiday.
Such a move for Launceston was knocked back by the field days organisers themselves, among others.
Some have said show day could be brought into February, to replace the watered-down, confusing half-day that is Launceston Cup day.
There’s even been the outlandish water cooler suggestion that we follow Victoria’s lead and install a public holiday to honour the AFL Grand Final.
Perhaps that’s a little to close to home, considering the debate we’re currently having around establishing our own AFL side.
Tasmania treats its public holidays with quirk. Newcomers are baffled by Northern Tasmania’s Recreation Day, the reason for which only becomes apparent upon asking. (But they enjoy the long weekend anyway.)
Naturally, the show society is against the chamber’s proposal. Because the show will operate as just one day this year, instead of three, it says a public holiday is vital to its success.
Traditionally, the show’s public holiday has been on the Thursday, with the show continuing throughout Friday and Saturday.
If the show is to continue in this new-look single day format, it begs the question, is Thursday the best day of the week to hold it?
It’s common practice now for a worker to take the Thursday public holiday with glee, back it up with a day off on Friday, and revel in a four-day weekend.
With show attendance already at an all-time low, one cannot see that changing anytime soon, if the holiday status quo is to remain.
This public holiday debate is not about closing the coffin on the show, it’s about making sure that our public holidays are the most effective and most rewarding, for Tasmanians.