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Inspiration for your next adventure around the Northern Territory's Top End.

Darwin Festival Opening Weekend

by Sue Moffit

Civic park is transformed into kaleidoscope of colour and shapes. Orange lanterns hang from the trees and a collection of jellyfish, made by Ali De Groote, hang delicately in a cluster (called a Smack!).
My eyes are drawn to the really tall bamboo poles that reach into the clear blue sky. Some form tepees, some seem random and some form the roofing for the food stalls. And what a collection of multicultural food there is – Thai and Indian food from a real local’s favourite, Hanuman, pizzas from Cucina Sotto Le Stelle, Syrian kebabs from Damasquino and a new entry into Darwin’s restaurant scene, Phat Mango who specialise in local and native ingredients. That’s not all, there is chocolate from Bumble Bee and ice cream from Trampoline. Whoops I nearly forgot the soft fluffy bao’s from Bamboo Lounge and Smokey J’s burgers.
Back to the bamboo poles. They hug the Bamboo Bandstand and hold a massive orange lantern reminding me of our beautiful tropical sunsets. Background music early in the evening is followed by live music, dance routines and tonight (Friday) a beautiful and inspiring Welcome to Country.
Bilawara Lee, one of our Larrakia elders welcomes us all to this special place, the Darwin Festival, truly a place for meeting and making friends. Her brother and sister create a fire and smoking ceremony where everyone is invited to participate and walk through the smoke. Ironwood leaves blaze and then turn quickly to smoke enveloping the audience, and themselves.
Jellyfish are the main component on the murals of the brilliant turquoise corrugated iron walls of the stage, with the occasional turtle too. Behind these walls the Sunset Stage sits proudly under the trees. Seating for the shows is casual with tables and chairs dotted around; but mostly people bring their picnic rugs and relax on the grass.

Now the sun has set and the whole of park is lit with tiny lights that are strung between the bamboo poles. It’s a magical place, just like fairyland.

Atmos in Festival Park DSC 2988 web ready Housewarming Darwin Festival 2020 DSC 6153 web ready

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