While many North American cities are getting hit with snow, Melbourne is basking in its last days of summer. Take advantage of the weather and experience the artsy city’s fun festivals. Here are my top festivals for March — and why they’re so brilliant:
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Foodies of all ages can enjoy an array of edible entertainment, including hands-on events, world food markets and regional fare, at this festival. Now in its 20th year, Melbourne’s internationally acclaimed celebration of food and wine will bring to life every nook, laneway and region in Victoria with interactive experiences, exclusive behind-the-scenes tours, memorable dinners, exhilarating crawls and more. Venture out of town and discover the region’s finest producers or stick to the city and enjoy foods from all cultures and cuisines. Through March 17.
Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
For four days every year, grand prix fever hits Melbourne’s spectacular Albert Park and captures the sporting spirit of the city. But the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix isn’t just an event for racing enthusiasts — it boasts a huge array of concerts, parties, kids’ activities and more. It’s a great day out, whether you love motorsport or not. Just don’t forget to pack some earplugs. March 14-17.
L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival
The stylish festival inspires and connects designers and retailers with consumers. With a strong focus on Australian fashion, it ushers in the upcoming autumn/winter ’13 season and forecasts trends that fashion lovers across the city can expect to see. The unique part of this festival is that the public can head from the runway show directly into the designers’ stores and purchase the clothes they covet. It’s a celebration of style in Melbourne. March 18-24.
Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
Staged within the Royal Exhibition Building and the surrounds of the Carlton Gardens — both of which are a World Heritage site — the Melbourne International Flower & Garden show is a prestigious fixture on the city’s festival calendar. This world-renowned show is regarded as the largest and most successful horticultural event in the Southern Hemisphere. Floral talent abounds; the sheer magnitude of creative floral styling will impress even those without a green thumb, and the colors and plants, including Australian natives, will offer a splendid example of the continent’s great outdoors. March 20-24.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
This is one of my favorite festivals of the year. The city comes alive with laughter, and there’s a buzz on the streets late into each night. With the biggest names in comedy from across the world gracing the city, there’s no shortage of big acts to impress, but I love that you can also see up-and-coming comedians and performers wowing you with their wit, skill and talent. With an enormous program of stand-up comedy, cabaret, theater, street performance, film, television, radio and visual arts, there is something for everyone. March 27-April 21.
Photos Courtesy of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival