- The 2013 Moomba Festival opened on March 9 and reached its climax on March 12, a public holiday in Melbourne, with the Moomba parade and fireworks in the evening.
The Moomba Festival is a huge outdoor Melbourne festival which had its start in 1954 as a focus of city celebrations and activities. Traditionally it ends with a colorful street parade with floats, costumed participants, and — crowned Moomba Monarchs.
Moomba Monarchs have included Olympian Cathy Freeman, singer Marina Prior, TV personality Denise Drysdale and the clowns Zig and Zag. This year, 2010, the Moomba Monarchs were TV personality Molly Meldrum and singer Kate Ceberano.
'Let's get together'
The word Moomba is said to have come from an Aboriginal word meaning Let's get together and have fun.
In 2003, the festival reinvented itself as Melbourne Moomba Waterfest with a large number of its activities occurring on or along Melbourne's Yarra River. It has since returned to being simply Moomba.
In 2011 Moomba again brought Melbourne's city streets, riverside areas, parks and waterfront to life with several days of free public events during the Victorian Labor Day long weekend.
With a program of old favorites and first-time additions yearly, a vast array of entertainment across Alexandra Gardens, Birrarung Marr and the Waterfront City Piazza at Docklands — Melbourne's newest waterfront destination — attracts thousands of visitors.
Annual activities may include music, dance, sporting activities, Moomba beach volleyball, fireworks displays, the magical Moomba Parade, live theatre for children, the much loved Bath Tub Dash, Beat the Boat Fun Run, waterskiing, and the wacky Birdman Rally.
The Moomba Parade is normally held from 11am on the Victorian Labor Day public holiday. The parade takes place along Swanston St from Little Bourke St to Princes Bridge, ending in the St Kilda Rd Service Lane opposite the Arts Centre.
After the parade, celebrations continue throughout the day along the Yarra and other parts of the city.
Attractions and activities throughout the yearly festival include movies under the stars, singing, dancing and special performances, buskers, clowns, stiltwalkers, waterskiing and wakeboading, and various novelty races on the river.
There's a host of activities for both young and old at a festive carnival time when Melbourne lets its hair down.