ACT News

Families and friends beat the heat to celebrate Canberra Day

Hordes of families and friends braved the heat to soak up the colour of Canberra Day celebrations in the capital on Monday.

What could have easily been mistaken for a crowd enthralled by headline act SAFIA was in fact hundreds of families with young children gathering at the event's new location on the Patrick White Lawns from 2pm to catch the first lively performances by the Octonauts and DJ Felixx. 

Long lines weaved across the grass outside the National Library of Australia as the young and young-at-heart tackled hoops, a tug-of-war, jumping castles, a slippery dip and some dizzying spinning tea-cups.

Waramanga's Louyna Ulavalu braved the latter with her children Alisi 1, Lucas, 3, and Mahe Hala, 4.

She said the family celebrated Canberra Day every year but preferred the new location over Commonwealth Park.

"It's been amazing. There's a lot more space," she said. "It's just a good family day out."

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Paul Teede of Weston and his children Ethan, 5, and Heidi, 3 tackled an old-fashioned tug-of-war after enjoying the Octonauts.

"It's just good Canberra can put on events like this," Mr Teede said. "We were just talking about how it was so easy to find out about things like this. We weren't doing anything today. We saw this was on and decided to come down."

Others retreated to the shade, many in search of ice-cream.

Cook's Ann Savery was among those picnicking in the shade with family and friends - but not too far from the action.

"The rides have been great for the little kids," she said.

"We come to every Canberra Day celebration. I like it near the water, it's really nice."

While the temperature dropped inside the National Library the energy soared as Canberrans of all ages trickled into the Rave CBR dance party - organised by No Lights, No Lycra Canberra South.

Organiser Fiona Harris said it was an exciting opportunity to include No Lights, No Lycra, which involves dancing in the comfort of pitch black, as part of a large-scale event.

"It's all about doing something a bit different but a lot of fun," she said.

"It's all about the dancing, getting exercise, letting go and de-stressing. Doing it in the dark, there's that bit extra freedom."

By about 4pm, prams had been swapped for picnic rugs as a younger crowd emerged to catch performances by Canberra bands Slow Turismo, Magnifik and headline act SAFIA.

But most listened from afar in the shade, beverage in hand, leaving only a small crowd in front of the stage during the early performances.

Campbell's Jess Petersen carved out some space closer to the stage early to catch SAFIA.

"It's nice just to hang out and listen to the music," she said. "Canberra's had a whole bunch of really exciting events for the first time in a really long time."

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