We had the recent pleasure of spending autumn in Brisbane, Australia and have been amazed at the number of festivals taking place in and around the city at this time of year. Here are the festivals that we’ve enjoyed most in Brisbane this autumn.
The Paniyiri Greek Festival is Brisbane’s annual celebration of its strong Greek community in the West End of the city. It runs over two days and is great fun for anyone who enjoys street food or craves a splash of Mediterranean culture. The festival is packed with food stalls selling classic Greek savoury dishes such as chicken souvlaki and moussaka, as well as sweet treats like honey puffs (like Greek donuts). There was also a packed entertainment programme with cookery demonstrations, Greek music and dancing. And for those with a sweet tooth and a big stomach, they also had a honey puff eating competition, which is probably more fun to watch than to compete in. Overall, the festival was good, honest fun all round.
Now its 94th year, Cootha Classic is an essential event for any motoring enthusiast. Located on Brisbane’s iconic Mount Cootha, the classic motor racing event featured hundreds of cars from early single seater racers to modern supercars and bikes, all battling it out over the weekend to set the fastest time up and down the mountain. The event had a laid-back friendly atmosphere, with most of the owners and drivers being local enthusiasts who are keen to chat and show off their impressive machines in the public pit area.
Brisbane’s Palace Centro Cinema is a hub for alternative cinema in the city, and in April and May took part in the annual German Film Festival and Spanish Film Festival respectively. Each festival ran for over a week with a packed timetable showcasing the best German and Spanish language cinema of 2009-10, including comedies such as the Mexican ‘Tourists’ and new children’s classics such as ‘The Crocodiles’ from Germany. Both festivals were a great opportunity to experience a change from the usual Hollywood cinema, as well as getting some language practice for those European travels.
The Queensland Italian Festival was held for the first time this year and took a different approach to the Greek Festival earlier in the month. The festival was spread over a week with different types of events on different days in different parts of the city. Events included Italian food markets, an Italian car rally, fine dining at the Treasury Casino, an Italian waiters race on Queen Street Mall, classical music concerts and a free public screening of the classic Italian movie Cabiria from 1914. Whatever it is that you love about Italy, the Queensland Italian festival had something for you to enjoy.
There is certainly no opportunity to get bored during the autumn months in Brisbane and visiting the city’s many festivals has been a great way to enjoy the transition from the hot summer to the cooler winter months.