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Fabulous Fair Day 2016

Philippa Moss

Isn’t it great living in Canberra!

Every weekend there’s something interesting to explore. But of all the days of this year, it seems that 29 October is one of the busiest.

In addition to Halloween and Octoberfest, many Canberrans (including this Braddonite) were very excited about the Braddon Block Party. But now the Block Party has been postponed – I can spend my day at Canberra most exciting and colourful annual event – FAIR DAY.

Canberra’s own Fair Day

For more than 10 years, the AIDS Action Council has hosted Fair Day in Canberra as the kick-off event for the SpringOUT Pride Festival (an annual celebration of the LGBTIQ community). It’s become our community’s most loved annual event, attracting more than 3,000 people to experience a range of market stalls, sample some great cuisine and enjoy a range of fabulous entertainment. Local community vendors also provide information booths where everyone can learn more about the local services and organisations who support Canberra’s LGBTIQ communities.

Everyone is welcome at Fair Day, which has become known for its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. In fact Fair Day has become a great opportunity for the LGBTIQ communities to celebrate the inclusive nature of Canberra – both as a Territory and a city. In turn, we welcome all Canberrans to enjoy the range of activities on offer, particularly our new venue and exciting workshops.

Until 2015, Fair Day was held on the grounds of Westlund House. In 2015 we moved to a new venue – the hip and urban Westside Acton Park right on Lake Burley Griffin. This trendy market square precinct, made of shipping containers, hosted our largest gathering ever despite grey skies and showery spring weather – which provided a great excuse to break out the rainbow-themed umbrellas.

While it was another great day out, we’re always keen to make it even better. So this year, we’ve incorporated feedback from the community including the need for grass to sit on, shade to rest in or set up a picnic and a venue that features a range of facilities.

A new Braddon venue

Easily solved – this year the Council will be hosting Fair Day at the Gorman Arts Centre. Ideally situated in a quiet suburban location, yet only a short stroll from either Civic or Braddon, it’s a convenient location no matter where you’re coming from. It also provides a lovely community atmosphere, with leafy courtyards, covered walkways and newly renovated indoor space.

This year’s venue has also provided opportunities for new activities and fun for the whole community. Inspired by the picnic, relaxed-type feel of the arts centre, we’ve added a range of engaging workshops such as yoga, singing, dancing, finance and even cupcake mastery!

Fair Day host’s talent!

We’ve also been fortunate to secure a Melbourne-based stand-up comic who’s been referred to as ‘the hottest new name on the comedy circuit’. Kirsty Webeck has, in less than three years, transitioned from a full-time public servant to a professional comedian. Having performed with some of the best-known names in Australian comedy, she now regularly tours with her one-hour solo show. She’s noted for her observational humour and easy storytelling style which appeals to a wide audience – I’m excited to see the fun she will have being our MC for the day.

Also on the entertainment schedule this year is another Melbournian, performing artist Samuel Townsend. His androgynous drag construct, Venus Mantrap, delivers a unique combination of cabaret, performance art and comedy. No stranger to Canberra, Samuel was actually crowned the ‘Mayor of Canberra’ during the You Are Here Festival in 2016. He’s also performed his new one-man-show at Smith’s Alternative and produced The Bowie Ball for the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre earlier this year.

Kirsty and Samuel are welcome additions to the Fair Day team for 2016 and we cannot wait to see them in action.

Ending HIV

Fair Day is a fun and exciting celebration and also one of the main vehicles the AIDS Action Council uses to ensure sustained advocacy efforts and delivering health promotion messages to our communities. Sexual health testing will also be available on the day, as well as information about Canberra’s new PrEP trial. PrEP is the use of antiretroviral drugs, taken by HIV-negative people to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is an acronym that stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and is an exciting new tool that will play a vital role in our efforts to end HIV in Canberra by 2020. PrEP is only recommended for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV.

All welcome

So make some time on Saturday, 29 October to visit Canberra’s own Fair Day. It’s a fun celebration of Canberra, which we consider the funky little capital of Australia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender culture. I hope to see you there!

the essentials

What: Fair Day 2016
When: Saturday, 29 October from 11am to 4pm
Where: Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon
Entry: Gold coin donation
Find more information: aidsaction.org.au

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Philippa Moss

Philippa Moss is a HIV activist, professional feminist and best known for her outspoken voice promoting healthy public policy and healthy urban development. Philippa has been a happy resident of Canberra for the past 17 years. Originally from Sydney, she came to Canberra at a pivotal stage in her life. She is a proud mother of two children, a son and daughter in their teens/twenties, who as a Queer parent has always felt a part of Canberra’s greater Lesbian, Gay and Queer community. She was recently appointed the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Council (ACT), after acting in the role for the past two years. In 2015 she was awarded the ACT Telstra Business Women’s Award for Purpose and Social Enterprise, along with the Australian Institute of Management’s Not for Profit Manager of the Year (ACT) award. More about the Author

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