Any other Melbourne children of the 90’s out there who loved Moomba as kids? Any of you left who still love it, even a little bit, as an adult? Anyone who even knows what the hell I’m talking about?!
For the uninitiated, Moomba is an annual festival held in Melbourne, basically for the love of the city and the enjoyment of the people. The big events every year include the Moomba Masters, the Birdman Rally, the parade, and the announcement of the years’ monarchs – this year it’s Melbourne Cup stars Michelle & Stevie Payne.
There is also music, food, carnival-style games and rides, and fireworks – that was always my favourite as a kid : )
It’s sadly been a few years since my last Moomba visit, but I made my way back this year; judging from the reactions of the people who asked what I was getting up to for the long weekend when I said “Moomba!” I feel like it’s not getting the love and attention it used to back in the day. Despite the ever increasing cost of living and having fun in Melbourne, it’s still good, I promise! So if you didn’t bother this year, hopefully this will encourage you to mark it on next year’s calendar and get into the fun Melbourne spirit!
How to get your Moomba on
Step 1: Leave the car, nice clothes and fancy shoes at home, pack the sunnies, umbrella and sunscreen.
Because you’d be an absolute idiot to drive into the city and pay premium car parking rates when you can catch a train into Flinders Street Station, cross the road, and be at Moomba. Also, because Labour Day falls on the tail end of summer, expect freshly cut grass and a bit of dirt dragged up by it. If you’re planning to wander around and sit down on the grass at some stage to chill out and enjoy the day, you’re probably going to want to be in comfy shoes and clothes that won’t suffer from dirt or grass stains.
There are also some undercover areas, but no where near enough to cater for the crowds, so best to pack some sunscreen and sunglasses, as well as an umbrella. Because, Melbourne.
Step 2: Check out the program for music acts, so you can time your day around the tunes you want to hear.
After missing out on their Mardi Gras performance, I was stoked to see Horns of Leroy, an unreal New Orleans style brass band, on Monday’s program! Over the years, the husband and I have discovered some amazing music at Moomba, like long time favourites Lowrider, who we heard play back in 2009. Still love this album…
Step 3: Time your arrival on the day and time the parade is on.
Because there won’t be anywhere near as many crowds around, so you can get something to eat or enjoy a few rides without the lines if you’re that way inclined. And if you want to watch the parade, you can enjoy it on the big screen by the river without all the people shoving you around!
Step 4: Arrive on an empty stomach, because there’s more than just crappy hot dogs available.
This year’s line up included food truck stars like…
– White Guy Cooks Thai
– Hoy Pinoy Filipino BBQ
– Burn City Smokers (see above for their brisket burger. WOW.)
– Nici Nunu Dumplings
– Everybody Loves Ramen
– That Arancini Guy
There were also the good old dirty hot dogs and fairy floss still available…
Step 5: Get yourself a spot on the sloped banks of the Yarra for prime viewing position for the water skiing.
Even if you’re not into water skiing, it’s fun to watch the trick jumps and what not on Moomba weekend, and it’s a pretty relaxing way to end the day when you’ve had enough of pushing through the crowds, but are too tired to start heading home.
It may be a bit expensive (seriously, AUD$10.00 for a ride and AUD$8.00 for a donut?!), it may get really busy, it may seem like an indulgence of the past that’s no longer relevant, but Moomba still has its place. I think it’s a brilliant way to celebrate Melbourne and appreciate the music, food, culture and fun the city has to offer. It’s a festival that puts smiles on the faces of both parents enjoying the nostalgia and memories of their childhood experiences, and their kids enjoying it for their first time. It brings together people of so many nationalities that all now call Melbourne home. It’s an opportunity to just relax and have fun and take a break from the mundane routines we find ourselves in. Save the date for next year : )