Thursday, March 17, 2011

Let's Moomba!!!!

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you are ready for another new adventure in Australia! I took the long trip back because I couldn’t resist the temptation of experiencing something called the Moomba Festival in Melbourne!
I was somewhat skeptical when my Australian friend, Georgie, invited me to the festival. I wondered what would be fun about a festival centered around cows. Georgie was confused at first but she eventually understood my concern. She explained it wasn’t Moo-mba, but Moom-ba. Oooooooooh! I still wasn’t sure what it was all about.
Georgie gave me a crash course on the Moomba Festival. It is somewhat like Mardis Gras in New Orleans. It has been held in Melbourne every year since 1955 – wow, that is, like, FOREVER! The festival is held during the long Labour (note the Australian spelling of “labor”) Day weekend and runs from Friday through Monday. Now that’s a real long weekend! The name of the festival is an Aboriginal word translated to mean “Let’s get together and have fun.” Since I am all about the fun, I jumped on a plane and made my way back to the land down under….
It was so good to see my friends in Australia again! My friend Georgie was kind enough to select a few activities that she thought might be of interest to me. She knows me so well, so I had a full agenda of fun and daring!
Since I was still tired from my long trip, we started out slowly, planning on first surveying the festival as a whole. Georgie, Matthew, Jack and I boarded a tram to check out things and just take it all in.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the Moomba Festival was big on bright colors...and hats!
We stopped at the carnival area first. I have seen some local carnivals in my hometown, but they were nothing compared to this! It had a huge ferris wheel, bumper cars, that big swing ride and every other carnival ride you could possibly imagine. I didn’t want to do the spinning thing, but we did find some fun activities that we could all participate in together. First we hit the bouncy castle – one of my favorites!

Even George Tort and Brutis Ferret joined in on the fun! We bounced and bounced and bounced. I bounced my insides around so much I shook a hairball loose and had to excuse myself to take care of it. I returned a short time later to start all over again. We finally wore ourselves out and headed to the giant slide.
We took turns racing each other down the festive looking slide. George Tort could slide down really fast because of his smooth shell, so he offered all us non-tortoises rides on his tummy so we could see what it was like to go really fast. Georgie took him up on it and admitted it was a little too fast for her liking!

I managed to make it all the way down the slide without losing one of the two giant flower hats I had purchased. My friends told me it made me look like a walking parade float. What do you think? I, personally, think I look fabulous!!! This is the ultimate festival hat!

We decided to grab some food before I pooped out for the day. We weren’t looking for anything nutritious, so we gorged ourselves on hot jam donuts and fairy floss. Fairy floss is the equivalent to American cotton candy - but fairy floss sounds so much more fun, magical and tasty than something named after t-shirt material!! When we were full, we headed back to Georgie’s house to rest up for the busy days that were to follow.
We did so much over the weekend that I’ll have to pick just a few activities to share with you or my little paw will get blisters from all the tippy tapping! One of my favorite activities, even though it involved water, was the water skiing on the Yarra River. I turned out to be quite good at water skiing. My friends said they all cheered for me, but I couldn’t hear through my swim cap – I hate getting water in my ears, so I had found a colorful swim cap to protect my delicate and sensitive ears in the rare instance that I might fall.

Since the festival was centered around the Yarra River, it was hard to avoid water activities. Another fun thing I did which was going to guarantee a swim in the river, was to participate in the Birdman Rally.
The Birdman Rally is a fundraising where brave souls throw themselves off the Swan St bridge and try to fly as far as they can before they plunge into the river. Whoever goes the farthest wins a great prize. The Coolcatz and Hotdogz Club sponsored me and I fearlessly (okay, I was a little fearful) leapt off the bridge into the water.

I didn’t get very far, but I received quite a loud cheer from the crowd. I heard a lot of yowling, so I know my friends approved of my performance! Most of me was covered, so I didn’t have that terrible soaking wet cat look when it was over!
While we did have lots of time for fun, we also had to work on our float. There is a giant parade on the last day of the festival, and the Coolcats and Hotdogz club wanted to have the best float in the parade. In my unbiased opinion, I think we did. If the crowd reaction was any indication, I think everyone else thought so too!

We had great fun waving our paws wildly at the crowd as we slowly rode by. It was fun spending such a beautiful day with all my friends – and being the center of attention!
As with any special occasion, the time goes by too fast, and soon it was time to head back to the U S of A. I hugged all my special friends goodbye and promised to come back again soon. Australia has so many interesting things to do that I may have pop over every couple of months to try something new. It certainly is the perfect place for an adventurer like me!
I hope you enjoyed learning about the Moomba festival. I think the Australian travel board should hire me to promote their country! It is a fun one!
Until next week…

Love & kitty kisses,

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