Of dragons and lions

The Lunar New Year festival is coming to an end although I’ve been very much reminded of it this past weekend.

On Friday night I attended a gala fundraising dinner for the inaugural Vietnamese Museum of Australia (to be located in Footscray) at the Melbourne Town Hall hosted by actor/performer/speaker/comedian Diana Nguyen and with special guest speaker Tamie Fraser AO, widow of ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser who was instrumental in bringing out so many of the Vietnamese diaspora in the 1970s.

My uni friend Mylinh is a volunteer and had organised two tables of friends as guests. We were treated to a number of spectacular lion dance performances during the night including lions all lit up in LED lights, a Welcome to Country by Reconciliation Victoria’s Co-Chair Shane Charles, martial arts, singing and dancing along with the usual suspects of a silent auction and car raffle. It was lovely to see Mylinh’s non-Vietnamese guests fully get into the spirit of the night taking selfies with the lions and the Minister of Multicultural Affairs.

I don’t see my uni friends as often as I’d like but we go back a long way and continue to share a lot of good times as our selfie photos will attest! The end of the Lunar New Year is bookmarked by dragon boat racing today at the Docklands and Melbourne has turned on the weather for the races. Melbourne’s Sea Dragons are competing in the ‘extreme canoeing’ event so may the best team win.

Closer to home the Malahang Lantern Festival is being held in Heidelberg West on Friday 17 March from 5 – 10pm and looks like it will be just as spectacular for all things illuminated and floating or ground-based. If you’re a cyclist it coincides with Route 2@Lantern Festival being held by Reels on Wheels curated night-time bike ride (you will need bike lights to participate and be a competent cyclist).

Things are also hotting up in Alphington with the Alphington Primary School Fair being held next Sunday 26 February from 11am – 5pm in Yarralea Street and the Alphington Show on Saturday 25 March from 11am – 2pm for ‘a little bit of country in the city’ at the Alphington Community Centre at 2 Kelvin Road.

The extended 5-day Moomba Festival is being held on the March Labour Day long weekend in our capital city kicking off the many festivals to come in March and April. I was in the city briefly yesterday and there were lots of people around – it has become the place to both live and be entertained in and two of my current work colleagues who grew up in Singapore and Vietnam now reside right in the heart of town walking distance to our office – no excuses to be late for work!


King of the mountain

Art Deco house Bukit Raja is one again for sale in East Ivanhoe for any of you lucky enough to have deep pockets.  Mr Rosanna and I had a look pre-renovation over five years ago and I’m glad the owners have done a fairly simple and subtle update keeping all the period features intact and enhancing what was already there.

Bukit Raja image via Real Estate View

Speaking of architecture, there is an Archi Tour at co-housing estate Murundakah in Heidelberg Heights on Friday.  I work with a number of people in their twenties and there’s a lot of discussion at work about the lack of housing affordability for young people.  I do wonder whether we need to re-think housing in Australia and perhaps try more innovative solutions such as this.

Image via Cultural Diversity Week

It is Cultural Diversity Week next week and there will be a free Multicultural Music Festival & Market on Tuesday 21 March in Bell Street Mall from 11 am – 2 pm.  Before that of course, is the annual Twilight Sounds free music event this coming Saturday featuring headline act Ella Hooper, which will be followed the next day by the Kids ArtyFarty Fest.  We did make it down to the Festival fairly late in the afternoon last year, which was a nicer time to go given the crowds had dissipated.

Image via pbsfm.org.au

Alphington Primary is holding its school fair on Saturday while on Sunday, you might like to try the Melbourne Tomato Festival at All Nations Park in Northcote, Wild About Melbourne Makers Market in Thornbury or catch some live music at the Kingsbury Bowls Club.  There’s definitely lots happening around the place!  Have a great week.

Image via Banyule Council