WHAT A WEEK­END!

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - OLIVIA SHYING

GEE­LONG will be il­lu­mi­nated with light and colour when White Night de­scends on the city for the first time tonight.

More than 60,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to flock to Gee­long for the in­au­gu­ral lo­cal event that has pre­vi­ously lit up Mel­bourne, Bal­larat and Bendigo.

White Night vet­eran artis­tic direc­tor David Atkins said Gee­long’s mar­itime his­tory would be cen­tral to tonight’s per­for­mance — with light shows, en­ter­tain­ment, mu­sic and pro­jec­tions stretch­ing along John­stone Park, the wa­ter­front, Cun­ning­ham Pier and Gee­long’s laneways.

“White Night has a his­tory of draw­ing big crowds. There is so much for peo­ple to take in be­cause of the cross-sec­tion of en­ter­tain­ment and art­works. The li­brary is open, the gallery is open, the court­house is open and all those places have ac­tiv­i­ties,” Mr Atkins said.

Mr Atkins said Gee­long would be abuzz with DJs, mu­sic and an eclec­tic mix of per­for­mances by drag queens and lo­cal artists.

“We’ve got this huge an­i­mated in­sect, we’ve got gor­geous small per­for­mance pieces ... there is a re­ally in­cred­i­ble cross sec­tion that peo­ple can ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mr Atkins said.

“There is a wish­ing tree where peo­ple can write mes­sages, there is the Leap of Faith in­stal­la­tion, ac­ti­va­tion with lights, crea­tures and il­lu­mi­nated an­i­mals and there’s a neon dog park.”

Mr Atkins rec­om­mended White Night go­ers start their jour­ney of light and colour at the fore­shore end of Gher­ing­hap St or Moora­bool St.

“Gher­ing­hap St be­comes the spine and there are quite a few ac­tiv­i­ties along Gher­ing­hap St in­clud­ing at the Gor­don TAFE,” Mr Atkins said.

He said at­ten­dees who had vis­ited White Nights could ex­pect a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence in Gee­long.

“The pro­jec­tions are go­ing to be very dif­fer­ent here be­cause the work is in­formed by Gee­long,” Mr Atkins said.

“All the work at the back of the gallery is fea­tur­ing works from the Archibald Prize, wile the side of town hall is pro­ject­ing old maps of Gee­long. All the bands are lo­cal and all the per­for­mance sides are very spe­cific to Gee­long.”

Gee­long Mayor Bruce Har­wood said the city’s ac­com­mo­da­tion and restau­rants were close to ca­pac­ity ahead of an events-packed week­end.

“White Night is set to be an ex­tra­or­di­nary event for Gee­long. From what I’ve seen of the set up so far, this will be one event you don’t want to miss,” Cr Har­wood said.

“It’s fan­tas­tic for the Greater Gee­long com­mu­nity that we are at­tract­ing ma­jor events like this and I’m sure the city will be abuzz.”

ABOUT 15,000 peo­ple are ex­pected to bask in the week­end sun­shine at the an­nual Birregurra fes­ti­val.

Two of the town’s main streets will be closed be­tween 10am and 5pm to­day and to­mor­row as or­gan­is­ers have a se­ries of per­form­ers ready to treat the crowds.

“Peo­ple can come with $20 in their pocket and have a great time,” event or­gan­iser Vicki Jef­frey said.

Gee­long-based band The Kite Ma­chine, Chil­dren’s group The Mik Maks and This Way North will play on the fes­ti­val’s main stage across the week­end.

Ms Jef­frey said stilt walk­ers, a chain­saw sculp­tor and more than 300 pieces of art would be on show.

The ac­ro­bat­ics of more than 50 dogs will be on show as they whiz their way around a course and the an­i­mal nurs­ery are ex­pected to be crowd favourites.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers will also be sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets that will give the pub­lic a chance to win a din­ner for two at the Brae restau­rant or a $500 bas­ket of lo­cal pro­duce.

The fes­ti­val will raise funds for Birregurra’s preschool, pri­mary school and foot­ball club. De­tails www.bir­re­gur­rafes­ti­val.com

The neon art of Carla O’Brien will form part of Gee­long’sNight dis­plays.

Pic­ture: PETER RISTEVSKI CHAD VAN ESTROP

Krazy Koala (Nic Da­comb) and his pup­pet Gruff will be part of the fes­tiv­i­ties.

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