Organisers hope the outstanding success of Tuggeranong’s new community festival, SouthFest, will be the impetus for making the event an annual celebration of life in the Valley.
#TuggersPride was in the air when upwards of 15,000 people crammed the laneways and carparks between South.Point shopping mall and Tuggeranong Arts Centre on Saturday 24th November for a day of activities, market stalls, food and entertainment.
Visitors were met with a wide array of stalls to peruse. From the handmade goods of the Etsy Made Local markets, to information stalls from emergency services and organisations, and community groups campaigning against the Adani coal mine and funding cuts to the ABC, there was something for everyone.
The talent of the Tuggeranong community was also amply showcased in the variety of entertainment throughout the day. Dance groups, such as the Masters and Junior Advanced troops from Fresh Funk, popped up in various locations. Musicians also made clever use of urban spaces adapting both the old fountain in the laneway and the amphitheatre on Lake Tuggeranong to use as outdoor stages. Children and youth were kept entertained with activities ranging from jumping castles beside the lake, to nerf guns in the carpark, and the opportunity to check out the latest equipment on fire engines.
Those wanting to share their creative flair were able to join artists Nathan J Lester and Rebecca Selleck and contribute to new sculptural installations. In Selleck’s sculptures, participants had the chance to place native plants into the crevices of cairns made from construction rubble. And with Lester, visitors could write their hopes for Tuggeranong on rainbow coloured ribbons which slowly became part of two bright sculptures catching the afternoon breeze.
As the day wore on, those with weary feet could unwind in the TAC bar overlooking the lake and listen to the soulful jazz of Lulu Swing. And when the swinging tunes of The Fuelers kicked things up a notch, many got their dancing shoes on and showed off their moves.
All in all the day showed just how much energy and talent Tuggeranong has to offer and what a vibrant sense of community the valley has.
Feedback was immensely positive with audiences saying they couldn’t wait to see the event become an annual fixture. With luck, businesses and government will come on board allowing SouthFest to continue to showcase life in the valley.