After months void of large events due to COVID, the capital will once again see Canberrans gather for Australia Day - albeit, at a social distance.
Tuesday's Great Aussie Picnic will see five free picnic-style hubs set up around Lake Burley Griffin - and one ticketed hub at Stage 88 for an Australia Day concert - to allow Canberrans to come together for a large-scale event in COVID times.
Each hub will be set up similar to December's Carols by Candlelight, with a grid-like pattern laid out on the grass, giving attendees a visual cue of where they can place their picnic blanket to enjoy the onstage entertainment, while still being socially distant.
There will also be COVID safe marshals that will control crowd numbers within each of the hubs and guide people to their picnic spots.
It is hoped the layout will not only keep people COVID safe, but will still create the buzz and atmosphere that comes with large events.
"We've been working hand in hand with ACT Health to make sure that everything that we do for this entire event is COVID safe. That's number one on our priority list, to be honest with you," National Capital Authority director of events and place activation Suzanne Hannema said.
"Everyone wants large events to return. We all enjoy them and I think everyone is in a state of mind that they understand that there are certain rules that have to apply in the atmosphere that we're in at the moment.
"I think people are just thankful that events are happening, and they can go out and be social and still be safe."
Each hub will have their own themed entertainment including jazz and Aussie rock, and each will have food trucks and fully licensed bars (except for the Ankle Biters hub, which is aimed at children and families).
With plenty entertainment throughout the day, National Capital Authority chief executive said the event would help boost the arts industry now, and hopefully in the future as well.
"If we can pull this off in a safe way, it will help us build on this model and hopefully get some more of these events," she said.
"It would mean more opportunities for people who have largely been playing music in their bedrooms or online. They'll be playing to faces and they'll be playing to audiences, many of them, for the first time in a long time.
"And that has a flow-on effect from the musicians, to the technical people, the equipment providers.
"I walked around the lake and the loos are up and fencing is out, so all of that flow-on benefits from the arts and entertainment industry, we're pleased we can give that a bit of a kickstart as well."
- The Great Aussie Picnic will be around Lake Burley Griffin's central basin from 11am on Tuesday. For more information go to thegreataussiepicnic.com.au