The Weekender: March 6 – 8

DISCOVER Japanese culture at the Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival, watch the fascinating creation of murals at the MARCS Laneway Festival, sink your teeth into mouth-watering breads at the Artisan Bakery and Bar, or explore Melbourne’s largest festival, the Moomba Festival. Anthea Batsakis gives you her choice picks for the weekend.

The Moomba Festival
Friday, March 6 – Monday, March 9 (various times); Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens

Don't miss the spectacular fireworks display ending each night of the Moomba Festival! Photo: Laurence Barnes via Flickr

Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks display ending each night of the Moomba Festival! Photo: Laurence Barnes via Flickr

The City of Melbourne presents the renowned Moomba Festival during this Labour Day long weekend. As many of you may have known, this festival is Melbourne’s longest running and most iconic community celebration. Moomba’s grandeur grows with each passing year, with more than one million visitors expected to gather at Alexandra Gardens and the banks of Yarra River at Birrarung Marr for the countless events over the festival’s duration.

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has crowned the legendary cricketer Shane Warne and Bollywood star Pallavi Sharda as the King and Queen of Moomba. The festival will play host to live music from Australian bands such as the Hoodoo Gurus and Triple J Unearthed winners, The John Steel Singers. But that’s not all – cultural performances, circus acts, food, and the iconic Moomba parade are also set to entertain visitors on the final day of the festival.

A stunning fireworks display will highlight the end of each night from Saturday to Monday at the Main Arena at 9.30pm.

So don’t miss Melbourne’s oldest and leading event and explore the numerous activities that the Moomba Festival has to offer. Plan your experience by checking out their full program details.

Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival
Sunday, March 8 (12.00pm – 6.00pm); Federation Square, Melbourne

Don't forget to dress up! Photo: Melbourne Japanese Summer festival's Official Facebook Page

Don’t forget to dress up! Photo: Melbourne Japanese Summer festival’s Official Facebook Page

This Sunday, Federation Square will play host to the sixth annual Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival that will showcase Japan’s fascinating culture. The festival honours the ‘Bon Matsuri’ – a Japanese festival where people pay gratitude to their ancestors.

The Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival will highlight both traditional and contemporary aspects of Japanese culture through an array of entertainment, interactive activities, and food and beverage stalls. Visitors, for instance, can take a class in origami, or delight in a martial arts demonstration on the main stage at Federation Square.

But the foremost event held this Sunday is the ‘Bon Odori’ – a traditional dance performed in a circle, with the dancers wearing casual summer kimonos, or more commonly known as a ‘yukata’. Festival visitors are encouraged to learn and participate in the dance.

For a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture in Melbourne, the Japanese Summer Festival is definitely the place to go. If you come in a costume, you may even win a prize for best-dressed visitors!

Find out what else the Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival has to offer by visiting their website.

MARCS Laneway Festival
Sunday, March 8 (12.00pm – 7.00pm) 


Street art, food and cocktails? Oh my! Get down to the MARCS Laneway Festival this weekend! Photo: Mixy Lorenzo via Flickr

In conjunction with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the MARCS (Melbourne Art Restaurant Cocktail Sound) Laneway Festival is held to celebrate street art, food, and cocktails – a combination that makes Flinders Lane so unique.

Taking place precisely in ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place, the festival features live mural painting by Australian artists Steen Jones and Alex Lehours, whose work will also be put onto shirts that can be purchased on the day. Additionally, live blues music will be presented by Cherry Bar, and hawker-style street food will be provided by renowned restaurants Pastuso, Terra Rossa, The Swiss Club, and Papa Goose.

But perhaps the most mouth-watering detail to MARCS Laneway Festival is the specially made cocktail, “Monkey See, Monkey Do Punch”, mixed by festival partner and celebrated cocktail enthusiast, Eau de Vie.

So don’t hesitate to come down to experience live blues resonating through the laneway, an array of delicious food and beverages, and street art created in front of your eyes.

Visit the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s event calendar for more information.

Festival Artisan Bakery and Bar
Friday, February 27 – Sunday, March 15 (7.30am until late); Queensbridge Square, Melbourne

Something delicious is baking at the Artisan Bakery and Bar! Photo: Daniel Mahon

Something delicious is baking at the Artisan Bakery and Bar! Photo: Daniel Mahon

Until March 15, a pop-up bakery and bar will fill Southbank with the scent of freshly baked bread, coffee, and wine as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Well into its fourth year, it’s no surprise that the event has attracted a celebrated team. Both renowned local and international bakers, notably London’s Justin Gellatly and Paris’ Eric Kayser, are on the festival ground to offer a mouth-watering selection of baked goods daily.  Held from early morning until late evening, this pop-up bakery and bar will surely delight its visitors with an unforgettable culinary experience.

Breads and pastries are not the only refreshments on offer; a coffee and wine bar will also be set up alongside the workspace to quench visitors’ thirst. What’s more, various workshops will be running daily for both experienced and novice cooks, providing the exclusive opportunity to learn from the world’s masters.

Visit the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s event calendar to learn more about this event.

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