The Woodend Winters Arts Festival has a host of free events, including two with kids’ authors and illustrators and opening night fireworks at Buffalo Stadium complete with drummers, food trucks and local community groups using the opportunity to fundraise with food and drinks stalls.
The full program, including locations for all events, is available online, but if it’s the freebies you’re after then here are the ones to look up – while they are all free (or gold coin donation), some require bookings due to their popularity and capacity limitations at venues.
Friday 7 June
- Opening night fireworks – at Buffalo Stadium with Japanese Drummers Wadaiko Rindo. This event, including entertainment starts at 5pm, with fireworks at 6.30pm sharp. Locals in Woodend are urged to secure pets to ensure they are safe while the fireworks are underway. Local emergency services are volunteering to help direct traffic and ensure parking is easy and efficient. Rug up!
Saturday 8 June
- Mr Chicken Comes to Woodend… or rather, Leigh Hobbs will be, for the long held Festival children’s session at Woodend Library. Most famous for his creation of Old Tom (which made it to French and Australian TV), he is also author and illustrator of Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig, The Freaks in 4F, Mr Badger and of course, Mr Chicken (10.30 – 11.30am)
- Meet Judith Rossell – A chance to meet the author of 12 children’s books and illustrator of 80 books, thanks to the support of local book seller New Leaves. She recently finished the third instalment of the popular Stella Montgomery series, this one entitled Wakestone Hall. The first two, Withering-by-Sea and Wormwood Mire, have attracted numerous awards (12 – 1pm).
- Poetry at the Pub is back upstairs at The Vic with word wranglers Ben Oost and Myron Lysenko Easily one of the most popular Festival events in recent years and bookings are absolutely essential. (5.30 – 7pm)
- Viva Voce, Vino – Budding academic writers, authors, composers, poets and philosophers test their ideas at this Salon-style event at The Cravat Club – presented by David and Sara Gormley-O’Brien (7.30pm)
Art shows and exhibitions all weekend
- Pottery Exhibition by the Macedon Ranges Potters – Turning clay into works of art drives each of the artists that make up this creative group, whose bespoke items include functional, sculptural and wearable art pieces. Meet the artists and enjoy refreshments on Saturday afternoon. Supported by Feeling Framed.
- Look Learn Create: Artists at Work by the Gallery Members – See quality work by this artists’ collective – watch them work or join in and create something of your own. This year honours Mirka Mora’s memory in encouraging children and adults to create a ‘wall’ of her beloved dolls and creatures in cut-outs.
- WILD: Visual Art with Vigour by the members of the Macedon Ranges Art Trail – Native and exotic wildlife among stormy seas, rugged lands, riotous abstracts and bold statements by an eclectic cohort of talented emerging to internationally accomplished artists aged from 21 to 86 years.
Full details of the Festival program, and ticket purchases are available at www.woodendwinterartsfestival.org.au