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Blue Mountains Tourist : Winter 2009
“That old W Blue Magic...” hen your feet touch the platform at Katoomba Station you’ll hear it. As you walk up the steps that lead to Katoomba Street you’ll see and feel it. In a moment you’re part of the Blue Mountains biggest annual event, the Winter Magic Festival. Sitting atop the ancient mountain ridges of a World Heritage National Park is the idyllic location of Australia’s largest community festival. This is the weekend when musicians and magicians, jugglers and gymnasts, choirs, clowns and community take over the main street of one of Australia’s most famous towns. The Blue Mountains is known as NSW inaugural City of the Arts and Katoomba is the heart of that city. ”Now in its 16th year, the Festival has grown to the point where we can’t contain all the fun people want to have into one day,” says Festival Director Warren Ross. “This year we have also introduced a large program of satellite events. While Saturday 20th June will remain the big day it has always been, we have a number of supporting events that we are particularly proud to host. “These include a fashion show that will challenge Paris’ claim to chic preeminence. The difference is that at our show nothing will cost more than $100 to make and in many cases much less.” There is also a dance, music and drumming extravaganza featuring the extraordinary Ghawazi Caravan, Hands Heart and Feet along with some of the mountains’ and Sydney’s finest musicians. Both 4 of these events will be held in the Grand Dining Room of the historic Carrington Hotel. But that is only the start. There will be astronomy nights where experts will teach people how to use that telescope they bought years ago but couldn’t make work; and local heats of the national Poetry Slam, an evening of performance poetry. The Festival has hosted state finalists and even a state winner last year. The annual ArtStreet exhibition, under coordinator, Sally Grant, will make a visit to Katoomba town centre a must. This is where local shops become galleries in the week preceding and following the Festival Saturday. And then there is the ice skating rink. “Interest in the rink has been phenomenal,” says Festival President and Carrington Hotel’s Michael Brischetto. “For years people have talked about a skating rink in a range of places near the town centre. We just decided to do something about it. Skates will be provided and the fees are quite modest. The rink will go in on June 25 and remain until August 31.” Then there’s big Saturday. The local community has been preparing for months making costumes, masks and rehearsing performances. With 10 stages, 80 performances and as many surprises planned for the day, it’s a family event not to be missed. The program will start from early morning but if you do sleep in make sure you don’t miss this year’s grand parade. Parade coordinator, Shane Jeffery, is planning a big one. In the International Year of Astronomy, Shane has brought the theme, “The Stars Come Out” to the centre of the procession. To www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au get a good vantage point, people should be there by 11.30am. And finally, there’s the train. This year the Heritage Express steam train will be the elegant way to travel to Winter Magic. Visitors can take the Express from a number of points starting at Central Station. The train traveller, sitting high on the ridge, has views over these ancient valleys that the car traveller has only heard about. For further information go to www.wintermagic.com.au winter 2009