Welcome to the best event in the Dandenongs! Prepare yourself for a day of fun, art, performance, food, market stalls, rides and more entertainment than you can poke a twisty-potato stick at. Emerald Funfest is a free street festival that is run once-a-year as the capstone event for the PAVE festival. It has been steadily gaining popularity and last year drew a crowd of 10,000+ people who came to be tantalised, entertained and excited. With rides, attractions and performances to please all ages and tastes, this is truly a family friendly event, and showcases the best that Emerald and surrounds have to offer.
Spin around with glee on the Cup-and-Saucer, bounce your brains out on the Jungle Adventure, Slide down from dizzying heights on the Atomic Drop bouncy slide, and laugh as you’re slung around by the spidery arms of the Cha-Cha. The list of rides and entertainments is growing by the day, but the kids will love the Eliminator, Silent Disco, Pony rides and more. This is ultimately why your children come to these events, you can kid yourself that their cultural horizons are expanding, but nothing is as pure as the squeal of delight when they feel their tummy turn upside down on a carnival ride!
While the kids get excited about the rides, performers and the excitement of a day out, let’s be honest – it’s the food that brings the parents. Your taste-buds will be titillated by Nepalese Dumplings, South African BBQ, Twisty Potatoes, Poffertjes, Vietnamese Street Food, and all manner of exciting Food Truck fare from all kinds of cuisine. The “Food Court” is set up along Puffing Billy Place, the road running from the middle of town to Puffing Billy station, and has trestle tables and chairs for your dining pleasure. Not only will your mouth be happy, but your ears as well – Groove as you nosh, the Main stage is set up at the Roundabout at the head of the road. We are proud to use washable plates and utensils managed by Wash Against Waste, reducing waste and supporting the sustainable ethos of the festival.
The Emerald Funfest Festival has had a hidden gem at it’s heart for the last several years, a pop-up bar in the Old Bakery building behind the Commonwealth Bank. For a quiet drink and a chat in the court-yard, listening to live music inside, played by fine local solo acts and duets, or just sampling the produce from some great local wineries and breweries – The Hive has been a place to escape the exciting and vibrant festival for a moment of quiet contemplation. This centrally located and quirky little building was a heritage Bakery, and becomes rebirthed as French provincial watering-hole – staying open for the duration of the PAVE festival, running each night for the week to allow patrons to have a pre-drink before a show, or kick-on after, or just drop in on the way home from work for a relaxed drink and a nibble.
Emerald has always been known for the exceedingly high-calibre of musicians who live and play in the region, and the entertainment on Funfest day doesn’t disappoint! Having four separate performance areas featuring rock bands on the main stage, a youth stage at the end of Heroes Avenue, the Mountain Pickers’ stage in the car park behind Emerald Medical Centre, and “The Round” – a street theatre and dance stage on the street next to Stockdale & Leggo and the Commonwealth Bank. As you wander through the festival you’ll be struck the variety and skill of these performers, adding a soundtrack to your day of family fun.
With three live music stages (Main stage – on Kilvington Dr past the shops towards Gemco; Youth stage – on the end of Heroes Ave; Mountain Pickers’ stage – in parking lot behind Emerald Medical Centre) this event boasts continual entertainment for all tastes. Mix in roving street performers who will find and delight you throughout the day wherever you wander, and an all-star list of performances on “The Round” (a street stage near the Commonwealth bank) including Djembe Drummers, Bruce Airhead, Melbourne Transformers, Toby the T-Rex, dancers, street theatre and more. Be tantalised by Flamenco dancing on the Main stage, between rock, soul and funk bands. Tuck your thumbs in your belt-loops and mosey over to the Mountain Pickers’ for the best in country, blues and bluegrass. For the young at heart, gravitate to the Youth Stage for music that’s as fresh and sharp as biting into a lemon!
Everybody’s favourite narrow gauge steam train, Puffing Billy will be on show during this festival. While normal schedule trains will run on Emerald Funfest day, the amazing volunteers of Puffing Billy will be running demonstrations throughout the day showing the wonders of steam-locomotion. It’s steaming chuff, and characteristic whistle are a quintessential Emerald experience and will play a part in the festive vibe of the day. Look for the special funfest Head-boards on some of the most famous engines through out the day.
ROVING STREET THEATRE
Be delighted as the streets come alive with characters who are funny, amazing, magical and wonderous. You never know who you’ll walk in to, with Toby the Dinosaur, Tubby the Robot, Spiff Daddy, stilt walkers, Transformers and you might even bump into a Disney character or two. Watch your kids eyes widen with delight as the performers roam around and interact with the patrons. No matter where you go on the day, you will never be far from the action.
The streets themselves become a canvas when talented screevers take to the streets with their stunning visual arts. These semi-permanent works-of-art then become part of the streetscape of Emerald, adding beauty to the town long after.