On a big scale, the city calendar is full of events to entice people out of their homes. The Royal Melbourne Show is a fabulous and popular day out. We had a family outing to the Show this year for the first time, visiting all the popular attractions; wood chopping, animal nursery, dog shows, the animal pavilion (I've never before seen such a broad range of chicken breeds), and of course the obligatory rides and show bag pavilion. Our family day out was summed up beautifully by my youngest step daughter's words as we headed towards the car 'that was such a fun day!'.
The Spring Horse Racing Carnival is another very popular event that brings Victorian's out in their finery. This is a suite of events for horse racing lovers and fashion lovers alike. While it isn't really my cup of tea, it has been described as the highlight of the Australian racing year as it attracts both local and international horses to the selection of races and hundreds of thousands of excited spectators.
The City of Melbourne also hosts the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in the first week of September. In its 18th year this year this event profiles the new season looks of many designers across hundreds of events to a total audience of more than 100,000. As the warmer weather approaches this event provides some wonderful inspiration for fashion lovers as they shed their 'winter woolies' looking for their new clothing of choice as Spring unfolds.
The last weekend in September also plays host to the Australian Football League (AFL) grand final. The city practically focuses on nothing else in the week leading up to grand final day. Thousands turn out at the street parade the day before the big event to cheer on the players from the two competing sides and the grand final day tickets are in such high demand that people are willing to hand over thousands of dollars just for a seat in the stadium and the opportunity to see their team compete, and potentially win, a grand final. There are avid football fans who will tell you of the exact numbers of decades and years since their team last played in a grand final; such is the commitment of Melbournians to their football teams!
In addition, Melbourne International Arts Festival is held in October; an event promoted as the city's flagship cultural event. Profiling local and international performing and visual arts events almost 500,000 audience members attend a total of approximately 500 performances.
Despite this great selection of large scale events during Spring to entertain us, it's the smaller nuances of the season changes that I find really exciting. Daily visits to the daffodil bulbs in my garden to see if they've broken the soil. Sheer joy at the additional minutes of sunshine we benefit from with each passing day.
Reflecting on these small joys I am reminded of the verse in the bible: 'through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1 verses 3-5.
I hope you find joy in some of the smaller detail of God's creation this Spring!
Merewyn Foran is married and a marketing director of a not for profit homelessness agency in Melbourne.
Merewyn Foran's archive of previous articles can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/merewyn-foran.html