The city of Melbourne, in order to celebrate their culture, history and art, organized the Moomba Festival almost 60 years ago. Since then, this free community event has grown to be the largest of its type in the country, drawing in more than 100,000 people from the city, other parts of Australia and from all over the world. The word Moomba is said to originate from an Aboriginal word meaning (roughly) “let’s get together and have fun” and that certainly seems to be the main focus of the Moomba Festival.
It takes place each year on (Australian) Labor Day weekend and lasts for four days. There are events and a variety of entertainment for people off all ages, taking place all over the city at many locations. In the parks, along the river and throughout the streets themselves are just a few places where you might see the celebrations of the Moomba Festival going down.
Live music is one of the highlights, and this event has a history of bringing in some fairly big names to help Melbourne celebrate. There are also sporting events, such as volleyball and waterskiing, carnival-like rides, dancing, karaoke, workshops and theater for kids, food and game stalls and fireworks over the river every night.
One of the more memorable events is the Birdman Rally. This silly event gathers people dressed in strange costumes with wings attached to their backs. They climb atop a platform on one side of the Yarra River and attempt to use their makeshift wings to “fly” across. Needless to say, a lot of people end up soaking wet.
The end of the festival is marked by the Moomba Parade. Many people consider it to be the highlight of the festival, featuring a procession of floats, celebrity guests and performers of various types. All this is centralized around a single theme that promotes one or more forms of art.
Next year, the festival takes place from March 8th to the 11th. The Moomba Festival can be a great way for a visitor to Australia to have fun and interact with the locals and other tourists, all while keeping their wallet from draining too quickly.