UPDATE: The first event of the Celebrate Gungahlin Festival – the Sports and Wellbeing Expo – has been cancelled due to wet weather. The other events will remain in place, starting on the 11th.
After two years of lockdowns and isolation, Gungahlin will finally have the opportunity to gather and celebrate all the things that make the region’s community so special.
Aiming to capture Gunaghlin’s unique sense of community and showcase everything it has to offer, the Celebrate Gungahlin Festival will be held over three different events over three weekends, from 8 to 22 October.
Produced by Gungahlin Arts, the events include the Celebrate Gungahlin Sports and Wellbeing Expo, the Celebrate Gungahlin Cultural Showcase – Presented by Communities at Work and the Celebrate Gungahlin Community Picnic – Presented by Suburban Land Agency.
Gungahlin program officer Michele Grimston said the key to the festival is ‘community connection’.
“It’s really about bringing together people in the Gungahlin community and having that opportunity to connect with the people around you, the people in your community, the organisations and groups, and performers and artists who are part of this community,” she said.
“I think one of the reasons why that’s so important, particularly in Gungahlin, is because it’s so fast growing and developing so rapidly, and since there isn’t an art centre or a community centre for people to come together and find that sense of community, this event is a really important way of bringing out all the wonderful things that are happening in the community.
“It’s been such a challenging time for anyone who’s got anything to do with events, so now it’s really heartening to see things up and running again. It gives us that opportunity to come together, connect and celebrate what we love about the place that we live in.”
This year, the festival is presented in a series of three events, each one focusing on the strengths of the Gungahlin community.
“We’re really trying to focus on building the community and bringing everyone together. With lots of live music from local artists, multicultural dance group performances, stallholders, exhibits and more, there really will be something for everyone,” Michelle said.
“We have a wonderful collective of community organisations supporting us as well, including Gungahlin Arts, Communities at Work, Northside Community Service and the Gungahlin Community Council.”
The Sports and Wellbeing Expo, on Saturday, 8 October, will feature 30 stallholders representing a range of different clubs and organisations in the Gungahlin community.
“The clubs will have ‘come and try’ demonstrations so you can participate in a range of different activities on the day,” she said.
The middle weekend, on Saturday, 15 October, the Celebrate Gungahlin Cultural Showcase, presented by Communities at Work, will feature 40 community stall holders and a range of food vendors, plus live music and roving performances throughout the day.
“As Gungahlin is the most culturally diverse region in Canberra as we’ve got so many people from different cultural backgrounds that live here and work here, the Cultural Showcase highlights that,” Ms Grimston said.
“We’ve got a huge line-up of performers on the stage that day representing countries all around the world, including Balkan and Indian dance groups and plenty of community stallholders too.”
Rounding off the festival, grab your picnic rug and head to the Celebrate Gungahlin Community Picnic – Presented by Suburban Land Agency on Saturday, 22 October, at Yerrabi Pond District Park.
A community exhibition will also be presented alongside the festival with entries now open for people to submit an artwork that expresses what the Gungahlin community means to them.
Entry is open to artists of all ages backgrounds and abilities, and the resulting exhibition will be part of a festival program that genuinely represents the diversity of the Gungahlin community.
Ms Grimston said they encourage people from all walks of life, from the youngest children to the oldest members of the community, to come to the festival.
“Whether you love that really high energy stuff and the cultural showcases, or if you’re a person who loves to explore through their body and through moving their body, then the Sports and Wellbeing Expo is a really great chance to do that. If you need an event with a slower pace, bring a picnic blanket and some food as the Community Picnic is the perfect event for you,” she said.
“We’ve been trying to provide opportunities for as many people as we can to come in and feel welcome and feel part of the festival.”
“Each day of the festival, we hope to have beautiful weather, lots of colour and excitement and magic for everyone to enjoy.”
Celebrate Gungahlin Sports and Wellbeing Expo is on Saturday, 8 October, from 11 am to 3 pm at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval.
Celebrate Gungahlin Cultural Showcase – Presented by Communities at Work is on Saturday, 15 October, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Gungahlin Town Square.
Celebrate Gungahlin Community Picnic – Presented by Suburban Land Agency, is on Saturday, 22 October, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Yerrabi Pond District Park.
To find out more about all the exciting things happening, visit Celebrate Gungahlin Festival.