2019 Glenferrie Festival
If visitors to the Glenferrie Festival could summarise the event in one word (and did), it would be HOT.
On Sunday 3 March, Glenferrie Road, between Burwood and Barkers Roads, was blocked off to traffic from 5am to begin preparations for the annual festival. By the time the event commenced at 11am, the street was alive with locals and visitors from all walks of life, local traders, food vendors, community groups, roving entertainment and amusement rides.
Temperatures reached up to 38 degrees and in the face of the heat, the cold beverage businesses boomed. Homemade lemonade from the girls at Glenferrie Gourmet Meats, fruity sodas from Fonda, and free milkshakes from New York Minute flew off the shelves (or the ice!).
In line with the 'Americano' theme, changed by the organisers from the originally advertised 'Carnival' theme, there were cheerleaders, chorus girls, Marvel superheroes and a hip-hop crew performing as part of the ‘deconstructed parade'. Toward the Barkers Road end of Glenferrie Road, there were beautiful motor vehicles on display for the Classic Car Show, an attraction appreciated by all ages.
The main stage hosted a fashion parade and cocktail demonstration. Some attendees suggested that in future, the stage could be moved to somewhere people go to watch performances and demonstrations, rather than in the middle of the busy thoroughfare, perhaps to a side street or either end. One festival-goer Matto commented:
"I watched the cocktail demonstration. The guy was personable and charming, but the crowd didn't seem to really stop walking past."
The on-stage dog show, as well as the petting zoo, did not make an appearance in the interest of animal welfare due to the extreme heat. Addressing concerns raised by some Facebook users, the City of Boroondara has responded that the organisers have advised them that animals will no longer be involved in future Glenferrie Festivals.
Crowd size was down from previous years, undoubtedly due to the heat. Some local traders specifically observed that not as many locals were out and about. On the day of the festival there were also scheduled maintenance on the Belgrave, Lilydale, and Alamein lines. This meant that anyone travelling by train to the festival faced a much longer trip due to bus replacement services, which may have also affected crowd numbers.
Nonetheless, the Glenferrie Festival seemed to successfully appeal to all demographics who did attend. Many young adults chose to spend the summer's day sipping at refreshing $2 beers, wines, or Spritz in some of the alfresco dining areas of Santoni, Osteria 20, Vaporetto, Lulo and also Rococo, who came out and participated in the festival for the first time.
Local Camberwell man, Alex, enjoyed the wide range of stalls from independent businesses, to charities, to food. "The Glenferrie Primary School had a great secondhand book store. I bought two books, so I was pretty happy with that". While a group of mums escaping the heat with a Spritz happily commented that they felt “very catered for”. Some young people anticipated more live music at the festival, explaining that "it's just what you expect when you hear the word 'festival'".
The event was described by one festival-goer over the PA system as a “very family festival”. There was plenty on for the children, with amusement rides in almost every side street as well as face-painting and Lego at Mindgames, while reptile handling and Swinburne PrimeSci brought education to the entertainment. After last year's no-show, the camels were back and more popular than ever, operating until festival end at 5pm.
The festival was a safe and fun environment for tweens to roam. A large, friendly group of kids were almost bursting with excitement recounting the day's activities: "The dance group were great, and they involved Will in the breakdancing!" Will, ever humble, commented: "Well, I wouldn't call it breakdancing... but I tried!" The group lamented that it was "too hot" to eat any of the hot food on offer. "I just want a line of ice-cream vans... that's all I want."
Many community organisations also appeared at the festival with freebies, services, and support. Beyondblue, a local leading mental health charity and support service, featured a popular 'Chill Out Zone':
"It can get really hot and hectic out on the street, so we're just giving people a space to get away from the crowds, regroup, and relax". Handing out sunscreen, the Hawthorn Community Chest remarked that while they were "absolutely melting", the festival always has a "great theme". "It really builds a sense of community. Especially when all community organisations like us have a free stall at the festival".
Despite the baking sun, the Glenferrie Festival still managed to host a fun and eventful day to promote and celebrate the iconic strip we call home.