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Festival Opening

A day-long festival opening, packed with music, delectable food, refreshing drinks, and a plethora of activities for all to enjoy. Feel free to wander in and out at your leisure, indulging in an array of fun, family-friendly programs that cater to all ages – right in time for the school holidays.

An array of creative exploration awaits with a range of open-ended arts and craft activities designed especially for children to enjoy at their own pace. From painting and collage-making to drawing and beading, young artists will have the freedom to express themselves through a variety of mediums and techniques. With colourful materials and inspiring tools at their fingertips, children (and their adults) can unleash their imagination and bring their artistic visions to life.

Whether you decide to make a brief appearance or stay for the entire duration, the day and evening promise an enticing celebration of community, creativity, and diversity. It’s an event where everyone can find something to spark their interest and contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of shared experiences. 

The Schedule!

10am – Gates open!
Our beautiful audience can wander stalls from local makers, grab a coffee or some food, check out the DIY art making stations or visit Rhonda the Roving Festival Hub.

10:30am – Flower and foliage Headbands and Armbands Session #1
Marli Kelly invites you into her enchanting floral workshop for kids! Led by this skilled facilitator, children will create stunning floral arm bands and headbands using colourful blooms and lush greenery. Join in for a magical experience of creativity, friendship, and nature’s beauty! Marli is also running her own program later in the Festival – Flower Art Party.

10:30am – Zine Making Session #1
Local artist and Zine maker, Meg Doller will keep the older kids interested (although everyone is welcome to have a go), inviting anyone keen on self-publishing their poetry, drawings, comics or other creative ideas by creating small Zine, a hand-made book that can be easily reproduced later on using a standard photocopier. Keeping it old-school!

11:00am – Dance Party Session #1
Session #1 of ‘Live Long and Sparkle’ by Theatre on Toast, an energetic dance party for small people and their grown-ups. Join in with the enthusiastic dance duo, as they guide your crew through a set of bopping beats, which will have everyone up and dancing.

12:00pm – Zine Making Session #2
with Meg Doller – details above

12:30pm – Opera for Kids!
Singing sensation Allegra Giagu will take your kids on an opera odyssey for kids… if you don’t think opera is fun, you haven’t met Allegra yet. This may just entice you to Allegra’s program later in the festival also – Opera & Ivory.

1:00pm – Circus Demonstration #1
The circus is in town! Brace yourselves as Issy and Meg, two sensational students from the renowned Flying Fruit Fly Circus, teach you the mesmerising art of juggling and hula hoop mastery! An incredible opportunity to learn from two students of Australia’s world famous national youth circus, perfect for adventurers of all ages! Don’t miss out on this exhilarating experience!

1:30pm – Flower and foliage Headbands and Armbands Session #2
with Marli Kelly – details above

2pm – Dance Party Session #2
with ‘Live Long and Sparkle’ 
– details above

3pm – Circus Demonstration #2
with Issy and Meg – details above

‘Ukefied!’ by Numurkah Ukulele Club invites you to embark on a musical journey that transcends generations. This enthusiastic ensemble, comprising of members aged 18 to 80, is dedicated to the art of the ukulele and other underappreciated instruments. Prepare for an unforgettable session filled with your favourite songs from the ’50s to today. With an array of ukuleles, heartwarming harmonies plus a dad joke here and there, each song is an experience that will linger in your heart long after the last chord has been strummed. Get ready to be Ukeified, an all-ages experience that celebrates the enduring charm of live music and the ukulele’s universal appeal.

5:00pm – Official Opening of the Shepparton Festival
Beginning with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, everyone will be invited inside by Wulumbarra.

As part of official proceedings, you will have the chance to see a screening of Fast Film. Greater Shepparton Secondary College students are mentored by luminaries from the University of Melbourne’s renowned Film and Television department in a rapid-fire adventure of creation, collaboration, and celebration, where young filmmakers express their visions, test their mettle, and dazzle audiences under the stars.

Other artists and producers will let you know more about their work and you will hear from Festival Chair Mimi Leung and Director Kristen Retallick with their hot tips on the festival offerings.

Experience a glimpse into the intriguing world of Whackollective’s show islands in a preview performance ahead of their full show in the same venue the following day. 

Round out the evening with a relaxing drink as The Shepparton Jazz Orchestra infuses soulful jazz into the audience featuring vocals from Rachael Howard backed by the 15 local musicians who make up the orchestra.


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