As usual, Sydney started the year with a big bang. The city’s annual display of fireworks is claimed to be one of the best in the world, and its attempt to impress has only just started. What I love most about this energetic city which I call home, is that it knows how to party in the summer.
This is my favorite time of the year. Not only is Sydney’s sky a glorious crystal blue most of the time, it is also when Sydney really shines. Some say that Sydney lack the culture sophistication of its rival city Melbourne, but what they do not realise, is that this exactly why Sydney tries so hard to please, and the result, is its many fantastic events that happens across the entire year, including the month long party of Sydney Festival.
Sydney Festival celebrates Sydney life in all artistic flavors, and has events across the different areas of Sydney. I look forward to the festival each year because it is one of those times when Sydney feel like a community rather than a large economic capital, and for us Sydneysiders, it is a time when we can be just that little bit more silly, that little bit more crazy and dance like there’s no one looking.
This year’s festival is symbolized by a giant Rubber Duck, who has been around the world floating along rivers, streams and in harbors to reach us. I’ve been staring at it for a week now and it amuses me each time. It doesn’t do much, just sitting around being photographed; but its presence, this giant yellow rubber thing, is enough to draw a crowd.
Those who are not as easily amused can check out some of the programs available during the festival. There’s music from classical to the modern day punk, theater of old and new plays, public visual art installations such as the rubber duck and art work titled ‘Waste Not’ by Song Dong, talks presented by writers and artists about all life’s dilemmas of the past, present and future as well as family events suitable for the young and old.
My favorite are the free events, which are held at the Domain. Every year I look forward to packing a gourmet picnic with husband in tow, where we could free our feet of shoes and let our hair down to enjoy three separate evenings of jazz, symphony and opera. The symphony is a highlight for me, where the concert always ends with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with life-sized canons (facing Melbourne naturally) accompaniment and fireworks to end.
On the 26 January, I generally position myself somewhere along the harbor, preferably from a high point looking towards the waters for the annual Ferrython. This is the day when the city celebrates its water transport and have the public ferries race each other across the harbor, joined by many of the smaller boats along the way. It’s quite a spectacle and if anything, it’s a great day out in the sun.
Events also take place in the city of Parramatta, one of Sydney’s oldest colonial settlements further inland on the Parramatta River. The opening party on the 19 January is free for all, and will be filled with music and market stalls and a big concert to end the day. The rest of the events and exhibitions as part of Sydney Festival celebrate multiculturalism and generate a vibe of color and culture that is modern day Sydney, and introduces a different face to the ‘harbor city’.
For those who are missing the Sydney Festival this year, not to worry, it is an annual event that will happen again and again each January. There are different themes to the festival each year so not two years are the same, so plan your travels to Sydney early, enjoy the festival and viva Sydney!