For Danielle Cleary Events founder and director Danielle Cleary, life can be joyfully broken down into the occasions we choose to celebrate and plan.
It’s the vision that led her to take what was once the Canberra Wedding Fair and expand it into a full-blown community event – Canberra Fair.
As spring starts to yawn and stretch, the Fair is here to prepare us for the massive event season on the horizon with “inspiration for any occasion”.
“There are so many occasions in life to celebrate,” Danielle says.
“Weddings, yes, but also hen’s nights, bachelor parties, bridal showers, honeymoons, anniversaries, perhaps babymoons, baby showers and first birthdays, any birthdays, promotions, graduations …
“We’re always planning for the things we want to celebrate.”
Billed as “an immersive, holistic and experiential journey”, the event is a platform for market leaders in weddings, events, food, travel and lifestyle from Canberra and the surrounding regions.
Thoroughbred Park is zoned into four areas for the occasion – the Foodie Fair, the Market, the Bridal Showcase and the Arena.
“It’s a really community-focussed event and set up so the whole family can enjoy it,” Danielle explains.
Guests will enter via the Foodie Fair. Co-hosted with Experience Eats, here they can picnic to the sounds of a seven-piece band and partake in food trucks, giant lawn games, live music, entertainment and helicopter joy flights spread across the parkland.
Held in collaboration with theCBRwoman, the Market houses the ‘Take Flight Small Business Market’ where around 50 small businesses and start-ups will state their cases to the punters.
Guests can wander upstairs to the luxe corporate rooms overlooking the tracks for the Bridal Showcase, aimed at the newly engaged.
The Arena holds the bulk of the general business exhibits and workshops. From photographers to fitness studios, entertainers to fashion providers for all occasions, distillers and caterers, stylists, beauticians, florists, venues, hosts and more – if they’re a business or maker that can be part of an event, chances are you’ll find them there.
MCs spruik the day’s highlights, which include the highly anticipated runway show at the trackside marquee. ‘The Parade’ will feature new season looks by boutique designers in bridal, event, travel and lifestyle attire.
The day ends with Bride Stride – a quirky new spectacle in collaboration with Lifeline.
“Lifeline approached and asked if it was possible to have some space at the Fair because they were given a booth by a boutique that was closing down, which donated hundreds of wedding and mother-of-the-bride dresses. My office is currently filled to the brim with wedding attire,” Danielle laughs.
“So I sorted the stock for them and found there were some beautiful gowns that could be resold, but many were not suitable for outright resale.
“Some have beautiful beading and materials and are begging to be upcycled or revamped. We didn’t want to just regift them again, we wanted to make the most out of it, so we started brainstorming.”
Lending a whole new meaning to ‘runaway bride’, the inaugural Bride Stride will see philanthropic members of the public donning wedding dresses and racing.
Entry is $26 – the cost of a Lifeline phonecall.
“It’s going to be such a spectacle,” Danielle says. “Just imagine all those men and women dressed in something garish and going hell for broke.
“We want people to really embrace this event, don a gown and sneakers or just head trackside to support the runners. We want to end the day on a high note knowing we’ve done something for charity and put a smile on people’s faces.”
Following a two-year COVID-induced hiatus, Danielle says Danielle Cleary Events has “grand plans for showcasing Canberra at its best” at this year’s event.
“This event is Canberra-centric. It’s all about Canberra and supporting local. From the small business creating artisan jewellery all the way to national brands like TFE Hotels, it’s a journey we want everyone to come along on,” she says.
“We’re just really excited to be coming out of COVID and we hope Canberrans are too, and that they come and help us grow something unique on the Canberra calendar.”
Canberra Fair will be held on Sunday, 28 August, from 10 am to 3 pm at Thoroughbred Park, 1 Randwick Rd, Lyneham.
Admission to the Fair is free, but there will be two VIP Guest Experiences at the runway at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, including reserved seating, a glass of champagne and a gift tote filled with goodies for the first 200 to book.
Visit the website for more information, or to purchase VIP runway passes or register your attendance for the chance to win a Fiji getaway to Outrigger Resort.