McDonalds Masthead
ice-sculpture

Winter Festival: the coolest weekend

Amanda Whitley

There’s a certain beauty in a Canberra winter. Yes, the sub-zero mornings may be ‘challenging’, but the bright blue skies and short crisp days really are something to celebrate.

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) agrees, and for the second year in a row, is throwing a free festival dedicated to winter. From 10am to 4pm on Sunday 2 August, the NPG will be transformed into Winter Festival.

The event connects portraiture and winter, drawing people into the warmth of the Gallery and inviting them to get cosy and partake in a day inspired by the crispy and icy weather.

“Winter in Canberra has a unique atmosphere, foggy mornings are usually followed by brilliant sun,” says NPG’s Program Coordinator, Katrina Osborne.

“In celebration of this, the Gallery is hosting a community day in, themed around Magic and Mystery with events to please everyone.”

After the overwhelming response to last year’s event, organisers are taking a community-inspired approach to the day, and are asking Canberrans join an attempt to break the world record for the longest line of pom poms.

“To be part of the action you can start making pom poms at home, bring them with you to the Gallery and then make more on the day,” says Katrina.

“We have to make 7,000 individual pom poms so we are asking for everyone’s help! At the end of the day, all the pom poms will be up for grabs and can be taken home.”

If you’re keen to get in on the pom pom fun at home, get some instructions here, and upload pictures of your efforts on social media (make sure you use the #NPGWinterFestival2015 hashtag).

pom pom

But it’s not all about the ‘yarn’ – there’s a great range of activities for all ages at this year’s Festival. Here’s the rundown of what’s on, and when.

Ice Carving

The talented Glenn Smith from Down Under Ice Designs is back and will be carving several larger than life ice sculptures inspired by the bicentenary of Henry Parkes’ birth. These works will come to life over the course of the day and you can check out Parkes’ portrait in the Gallery.

All day.

Frozen sing-a-long

Will the Frozen phenomenon ever ice over? Doesn’t look likely, so we may as well just Let it go and take part in the Sing-a-long version of Disney’s Frozen.

On at 11.45am and 2.45pm (102 minutes). Spaces are limited so come early to secure your space.

Participatory artwork

Local artist S. A. Adair will be creating an epic winter art installation that everyone is invited to take part in. You can grow the work through tracing shadows and crafting your own icy component to adorn or enhance the piece.

All day.

Reimagination

Local textile artist, Dan Edwards, will be reimagining and recreating Rod McNichol’s portrait of Jack Charles in a playful fabric collage celebrating the warmth that woolly beards and moustaches provide.

All day.

Winter Wonderland Activity Space

The winter wonderland activity space is back, this year you can build your own structures using paper cups as well as create your own winter inspired environments to take home.

All day.

Mysterioso

The forever amazing Etcetera Duo are back with MYSTERIOSO, a new performance of comedy, mime, magic and illusion.

11.00am and 2.00pm (30 minutes).

Drumassault

And finally, this year you can expect to find Drumassault performing their infectious tribal rhythms that will get you moving in the cold.

10.00am and 1.30pm (20 minutes).

the essentials

What: Winter Festival
Where: National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes.
When: 10am to 4pm, Sunday 2 August, 2015
How much: Free
Web: www.portrait.gov.au/calendar/winter-festival-2015

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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