Having thanked Robyn Archer for her creative direction, let's put the next big Canberra birthday event in the hands of a party planner.

Sure, it should aim to surprise and amaze, as much of Monday's show did, but it should inject more of a feeling of Canberra fun and look less like highbrow alphabet spaghetti.

Forget stuff like the machine on wheels that spelled out words in what looked like salt, only to have them trodden or ridden into oblivion moments later.

Forget the speech bubbles that veered between witty and weird or the flashing roadworks sign programed with phrases like "How droll''.

Park those boats that brought performers by for a frustratingly short few seconds of music like some kind of aural drive-by shooting.

Show off some more of Canberra, especially out there on the lake.

Get the Snowy Hydro Southcare rescue helicopter to run through some training drills on the lake.  Set something on fire and have our firefighters show off their skills putting it out.

Incorporate an outdoor art show where local artists can show off their stuff and visitors can buy a Canberra scene for their wall.

Give people things to see that might not set off the creative electrons in their brains, but at least entertain them.

Bring back the Birdman Rally!

Kids wouldn't have resorted to chucking rocks into the lake at Regatta Point on Monday if there'd been ordinary Canberrans leaping from a stage into the lake attached to a homemade flying machine. It used to attract thousands to the lake, and would've been a highlight of the birthday party and a nod to Canberra's fun and daggy past.

Simplify the layout.  The crowd was big yesterday, but around the enormous area of the lake foreshore, there were areas where crowd and entertainment were a bit thin.

No doubt it would've been impossible to predict the crowd, but the event had a feel of too much toast, not enough margarine.

Couldn't the Canberra symphony have been performed right down by the lake foreshore instead of halfway up to Old Parliament House so you didn't have to choose music at the expense of lakeviews or vice versa?

It's easy to quibble about things after the fact.  While some people might have felt there wasn't enough to see or do, others will have been absorbed by it all.

But there should be no arguing about where the celebrations failed. Catering.

Having heard so frequently that a massive crowd was expected around the lake, how was it that organisers allowed catering to be such a debacle?

Near the Regatta Point stage, where Gen Xers in particular were treated by the likes of Falling Joys and The Church, intolerably long queues stretched back from the handful of catering trucks nearby.

And unless you went BYO, it seemed those on the north side of the lake had to make do with soft drink.  If you wanted to symbolise Canberra's crosstown rivalry, keeping one side of the lake dry while the other sipped champagne at a ticketed event wouldn't be a bad start.

The people who seemed happiest with their lot were the ticketholders at the world's longest bubbly bar.  But for those stuck on the outside of the fence looking in, it had an unfortunate look of exclusivity.

Options to eat well and drink a little should've been a feature at all the major gathering points on Monday not just for the VIPs and bubbly bar ticket holders. Serving alcohol at outdoor events works for Enlighten and the National Multicultural Festival, whose vibe would've been welcome at the lake on Monday.

As other reports have noted, there was a lot to like about One Very Big Day. The weather was spectacular, the fireworks amazed the crowd, and a great many people would have went home feeling completely happy.

I hope organisers find some encouragement in the feedback they're getting, both good and bad.

We should be eager to do better next time, and by next time I mean next year.

While weary organisers will probably groan at the thought of doing anything close to Monday's event anytime before 2063, the city should demand we back up.

We should demand what's been an amazing combination of events - Enlighten, balloons, big sport moments and a large lakeside celebration - be fixed in the calendar to tempt Canberrans to stay put this long weekend every year instead of fleeing town for the coast.

Make it a really tough decision to leave.

That'd do more for Canberra pride than any amount of flaming out-of-towners for their opinion pieces will ever do.

What did you think about yesterday? What would you like to see from future Canberra celebrations?