ACT News


Saying it in so many words ... happy birthday

MOST birthday parties involve a few choice words, but the planners behind Canberra's centenary festivities have taken a love of language to another level.

Starting at midday on Monday, Canberra … in so many Words will celebrate the city's intricate relationship with language, event director Geoff Cobham said.

''Canberra … in so many Words is about the fact that Canberra is here so the country can communicate,'' he said.

''We'll have word art as the theme of the day.''

Projects include Welcome at Regatta Point, Country at King's Park and Home at Rond Terrace. Home incorporates the work of 17 local multicultural groups.

Mr Cobham said each group had contributed by decorating their own word for home as part of an installation expressing their cultural community.


''On Rond Terrace, we've pretty much built a suburb with all these beautiful, sculptural words,'' he said.

''That project in itself is a whole festival.''

Two years in the making and created in part by Canberra-based design company Thylacine, the word art will also include an assortment of letters tracing across Lake Burley Griffin before forming a word at the end of the celebrations.

Mr Cobham said there would be plenty for the expected crowds of more than 100,000 people to interact with, from solving giant crosswords to flying kites with words on the tails.

''Participation was used in everything we're doing,'' he said.

''It's a huge program. There are plenty of things to see, and there's something for everyone.''

With the temperature expected to reach 29 degrees, Canberrans and the city's visitors will be able to enjoy a day of roving entertainment, gourmet food and the world's longest champagne bar.

The day's festivities will also include performances across five music stages around the lake, before finishing with a fireworks display inspired by Walter Burley Griffin's concept of Canberra's land and water axes.

''This is the kind of active, colourful, densely populated lake scene that the Griffins may have imagined 100 years ago,'' Canberra Centenary artistic director Robyn Archer said.

''Let's make it happen, as a 100th birthday present to ourselves.''

For the full program of events: with AAP