About Melbourne Moomba Waterfest
Where can you find Australia’s biggest free community festival, attracting over 1 million people each year? In sunny Melbourne, of course! Each year in March, people from all over Australia congregate on the banks of the Yarra river to celebrate the long labor day weekend at the Moomba festival. This extraordinary event offers fun for the entire family and features a colorful parade, water sports demonstrations, the quirky Birdman Rally, and fantastic fireworks displays.
The first festival was held in 1955 and featured a parade, fireworks, and performances by local musicians and variety acts. The name “Moomba” officially means “let’s get together and have fun,” however many people believe it was originally chosen as a joke, because it translates to “up your bum” in the local Aborigine language!
Most events of the festival are now held in Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens next to the Yarra River. A record 1.7 million people attended the festival in 1996.
The world famous Moomba Masters perform spectacular water stunts throughout all four days of the festival. Events include trick skiing, waterski jumps, slalom and wakeboarding competitions for both men and women of all ages. Spectators crowd the banks of the Yarra, hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the greatest water-skiers and wake boarders in the world showing off their skills.
The parade is one of the most popular events of Moomba as hundreds of floats make their way down St. Kilda Road in a procession celebrating the fun atmosphere of the festival. Each year, the floats are built in accordance with a theme and usually promote some aspect of the arts. Dazzling floats and wonderful performances by dance troupes and school organizations from around Melbourne delight the thousands of spectators lining the street to watch.
Free Live Entertainment
The festival offers plenty of free entertainment in the form of musical and cultural performances as well as extreme sports displays. Local bands and musicians perform in the main arena and a silent disco is offered nightly for music-lovers to enjoy letting loose on the dance floor.
Spectacular fireworks over the Yarra River both open and close the festival, drawing thousands of on-lookers to the riverbanks to admire the awe-inspiring displays.
At the Skate Park area of Moomba, skateboarders from around the country compete in trick and riding competitions, including the Australian Skateboard League National Grand Final and the BMX Pro Competition. There are also workshops offering the chance for young hopefuls to learn skate and bike tricks from the masters.
Most festival goers agree that the wackiest part of Moomba is the Birdman Rally, where dozens of people launch themselves off of a high platform into the river to compete for prizes. Each participant is dressed in an elaborate costume, usually with some elaboration of wings, and each on competes as either a Hawk or a Penguin. The Hawks are judged by how far they fly before entering the water, and therefore are usually are equipped with more technically efficient wing contraptions, while Penguins are judged based on how creative their costumes are. It is quite a sight to behold!
Melbourne Moomba Waterfest Youtube/Video
Melbourne Moomba Waterfest Dates
- Melbourne Moomba Waterfest 2016: Mar.11-14
- Melbourne Moomba Waterfest 2015: Mar.06-09