It was all a bit underwhelming
The Centenary of Canberra's Longest Bubbly Bar in the world located at Commonwealth Place. Photo: Melissa Adams
First up – due to a tired two year old, I didn’t get to see the fireworks or The Falling Joys. Sigh. Never mind – next time.
Yet it was tagged as One Big Day, remember. Not One Big Evening. Not even One Big Fireworks. We were told the fun would start at noon. There should have been a lot more for families to do during the day.
I have to agree with every word written by John-Paul Moloney. The entertainment and the other facilities during the day were lacking.
Considering the years of planning that have gone into the Centenary of Canberra and One Big Day, it was all a bit underwhelming. We expected more after all the hype. I’ve had better days re entertainment for families at Floriade, Australia Day, even the carols in Tuggeranong Town Park. Carnival rides, face-painting, genuine roving entertainers may be old-hat but they certainly do add to the atmosphere and fill up some of those big gaping spaces around the lake.
The good-natured crowds were absolutely HUNGRY for entertainment. A kind of flash mob singing near Stage 88 had people on their feeting RUSHING to see what was going on.
They wanted to be entertained but it seemed many people spent the day walking, walking, walking looking for it.
I confess I got into the bubbly bar as a friend’s guest during the invite-only opening. Didn’t last long because of said two-year-old (My error. I know. Shouldn’t have taken her in those swank surrounds.) But sitting under the trees outside the fence watching thousands of ordinary Canberrans walk by, I was a bit sad that on this day that was supposed to be inclusive and about sharing the lake, we had a bit ugly steel fence running a considerable length of it, excluding people from a view of the infamous icon finally alive with boats and other craft.
The bubbly bar was a fabulous idea. Maybe it should have been held just after-dark? It’s also such a Canberra thing to have an event where people can ponce about with their lanyards or coloured wrist-band and feel a little bit exclusive. Did we really need it on a day meant for all?
And on such a hot day, the scarce availability of water was, simply, verging on the dangerous. We brought our own. But guess what? We drank it! We found one bubbler on the north of the lake. Water was either sold out or at the end of an enormous queue on the southside. Yes, delays had to be expected with such a big crowd. But the weather forecast was no secret. The numbers expected were no secret. Maybe there should have been more tents selling only water dotted right around the lake?
There's no doubt it was a beautiful sunny day full of promise. The crowds were lovely. Few places in the world could host that number of people without incident.
I enjoyed the word play. I thought the Welcome balloons were wonderfully whimsical. The big picture frames were genius. I loved seeing the lake being used. Alive. Busy. Vibrant.
I loved that wonderful Canberra bands returned to play. But couldn’t we come up with something more than threading ratty pieces of plastic through a fence?