Feature photo: STEPHEN REYNOLDS
WITH EXPECTATIONS high for a spectacular festival, there was disappointment when the Saturday festivities had to be cancelled due to the CFA issuing an Extreme Fire Danger rating.
But better to be safe than sorry; with the day also being declared a Total Fire Ban, when the hot north winds picked up on Saturday afternoon, everyone agreed it was probably for the best.
The fabulous Festival Committee pulled out all the stops and gave us a bumper Sunday program so that everyone could enjoy the best Warrandyte has to offer.
The town came out in force to enjoy the entertainment.
As we arrived at Stiggants Reserve, we were greeted with the fantastic sculptures loaned to the festival by Tim Read of Tread Sculptures, from the giant whistle to the enormous bugs, all made from recycled steel.
First up was the Billycart Derby, where a range of contraptions, piloted by the bravest kids in Warrandyte, zoomed down Police Street into the waiting mulch pile.
- 1st place: Sophie in For Heaven’s Sake
- 2nd place: Eliza in Pink Wheels
- 3rd place: Owen
- 4th place: Hugo
The local emergency services had each built a cart, with North Warrandyte CFA, Warrandyte CFA and the Warrandyte Police going head-to-head in the Emergency Services race.
Hugo Lightfoot from Andersons Creek Primary School won the privilege of piloting the police cart by winning the billycart design competition and then won the Emergency Services race.
Meanwhile, on the River Stage, the pet parade played host to pets of all shapes and sizes — mainly of the pooch variety, but there was an appearance from a blue tongue lizard who took out the most unusual pet award.
Pet Parade Results
Biggest dog: 1st Enzo, 2nd Clover, 3rd Dash
Smallest dog: 1st Bonnie, 2nd Gizmo, 3rd Zuggy
Waggiest Tail: 1st Suri, 2nd Mali, 3rd Millie
Best groomed: 1st Cookie, 2nd Popeye, 3rd Enzo
Shaggiest dog: 1st Gooba, 2nd Iggy 3rd, Rueben
Cutest dog: 1st Winnie, 2nd Cosmo, 3rd Bowie
Dog with the most appealing eyes: 1st Millie, 2nd Rueben, 3rd Popeye
Best trained dog: 1st Bosley, 2nd Gooba, 3rd Clover
Dog most like its owner: 1st Chester, 2nd Suki, 3rd Gooba
Dog with the most appropriate name: 1st Dash, 2nd Scout, 3rd Ziggy
Loudest dog in Warrandyte: 1st Millie, 2nd Gooba
Best in Show: 1st The trio of siblings, Ziggy (and co.), 2nd Gooba, 3rd Popeye
Most unusual pet in the show: Thelonious, the blue tongue lizard
Activities on the main stage commenced with some local students participating in the World’s Greatest Shave to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.
A hard act to follow, the weekend’s musical entertainment was kicked off by legendary local a capella group the Vocal Agents, who wowed the early crowds with gorgeous renditions of classic songs.
By this time, the Kids Market was up and running, where local kids sold their homemade wares, as was the art and craft market and food stalls run by the local clubs, schools, and businesses.
And, of course, the Scouts’ Giant Water Slide, which had a slower trade than they would have had during Saturday’s 36-degree day, but it was still a popular attraction for many of the kids who wait all year for their chance to make a splash.
Gallery photos: SANDI MILLER
To make up for the cancellation of Saturday’s parade, the Monarchs lead a mini parade through the festival precinct, with the roving entertainers combining to make a mass band and some of the local clubs and kinders parading along with some very talented stilt walkers.
The day continued with all the old favourites — and some new ones — such as (deep breath) the Duck Race, Dodge Ball, Silent Disco, The River Dragon, Battle of the Bands, Gold Mine Tour, Mountain Bike Ride, Jelly Bean Races, The Community Garden, Open Mic, magicians, T-shirt painting, circus skills, art installations, SES, CFA, FOWSP, Woodturning, basketball skills.
The main stage grooved through the afternoon, emceed admirably by Warrandyte Theatre Company’s Emma Wood, with music from Stephen Grady, Katie Bates, Sunday Lemonade, Hana + Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits, then a Welcome to Country from Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Ian Hunter and official opening by the 2023 Monarchs, Ronnie Pederson and Connie Solty.
The stage rocked into the evening, with The Scrims, 19-Twenty, Ella Thompson, and Jazz Party getting the crowds on Stiggants Reserve dancing as the sun went down.
After sunset, the festival lanterns came into their own.
Produced at the Neighbourhood House’s lantern workshops with the help of Lachlan Plain from Sanctum Studio, the lanterns provided a festive atmosphere around the evening’s events.
Whew — what a day!
Congratulations to the Warrandyte Festival Committee for putting on a great show and to Warrandyte for their resilience and flexibility in making this a festival to remember. Warrandyte really did show their true colours — and it was glorious.
To see our full coverage, pick up or download a copy of the April 2023 edition.