North Coast National volunteer Jamica Owens (left), of Alstonville, and Llama Strangedreams, the Wearable Art creative director and costume designer, warm to Sideshow Alley.
North Coast National volunteer Jamica Owens (left), of Alstonville, and Llama Strangedreams, the Wearable Art creative director and costume designer, warm to Sideshow Alley. Jacklyn Wagner

North Coast National is on!

THE North Coast National show kicks off today and is set to see the Lismore Showground awash with candy-striped colour, featuring the old-fashioned Big Top, Sideshow Alley, knife-throwing and miniature horses - all dressed up in 'cirque couture'.

“This year's show has a very gypsy-bizarre feel with a bit of sustainable living thrown in,” show organiser Amanda Coutts said.

“Next year we celebrate 125 years of the show, so we're stepping back in time a bit with this one.

The more traditional aspects of the show, like the amazing needlework, cakes and award-winning produce displays, will feature prominently.”

Show-goers can expect to bump into the comic duo from Australian show, Guido The Clown and his acrobat lackey Ashley. The duo's performance will be a knife-throwing, lasso-wielding, acrobatic extravaganza with a good dose of Charlie Chaplin-esque comedy thrown in. They will be performing in the Main Arena today at 6.15pm.

Tomorrow night, crowds can delight in a one-off 'fashion party like no other' in the Ashton Big Top. Far from a catwalk affair, the 'Cirque Couture' show will be showcasing its flamboyant costume designs in a theatrical setting, modelled by songstresses and acrobats.

“It's a bit performance art, a bit alternative, but certainly kid-friendly,” Mullumbimby costume designer Llama Strangedreams said.

“Our costumes are colourful and silly, with big bustles, corsets and ruffles and period piece garments - a bit like a human installation,” Ms Strangedreams said.

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHTS
Cirque Couture: 7pm sharp Working dog trials: start 7.30am outside arena.
 
Dairy cattle judging: from 9am in the cattle ring.
 
Miniature horse judging: from 9am at the Feature Breed Arena.
 
Welcome to Country with the Widjabul Dancers: 11.30am at The Cock and Bull Tent.
 
Guinea pig pet show: 3.30pm under The Northern Star grandstand.
 
Summerland V8 Dirt Modified Speedway car demonstration: from 5.45pm in the Main Arena.
 
BARTERCARD Monster Truck promo: from 6pm.
 
Official opening of the North Coast National and announcement of 2009 Showgirl: 7pm in the Main Arena.

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