Parramatta’s birthday will be celebrated at a free family event on Saturday 29 October, featuring live entertainment, farmers market stalls, workshops and the second-annual Parravision talent competition.
Parramatta Day commemorates Parramatta’s Foundation on 2 November 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip travelled up the Parramatta River and ordered a settlement be established at the place where tidal water became fresh water.
The event will be held from 2pm to 8:30pm at the historic Experiment Farm Cottage and grounds in Harris Park, the site of the first land grant in Australia where James Ruse proved self-sufficiency was possible for colonial settlers.
“Parramatta Day is a great way to acknowledge the history of our City at one of Australia’s most important historic sites. It’s a wonderful day of fun for the whole family that celebrates our diverse and vibrant local community,” City of Parramatta Administrator Amanda Chadwick said.
Entertainment will include free creative activities for the kids as well as Aboriginal, cultural and sustainability workshops, and history talks and tours of Experiment Farm and Hambledon Cottage.
There will also be a wide array of international food stalls, including Parramatta Farmers Market favourites Sofrito Paella, Porky’s Henhouse, SaCrepe Bleu Creperie, Gozleme King and coffee from locals Darcy St Project. “People can pack a picnic or sample some of the great food available onsite as they relax and enjoy all the entertainment and activities on offer throughout the day.
The main stage will be hosted by Robert Neil and will feature a diverse line up of talent including Indigenous blues, roots and soul singerEvie J Willie, folk-inspired pop-rock from western-Sydney indie band Tenderfoot, Swing and Balkan Gypsy beats from Lolo Lovina and modern pop from X-Factor star and rising singer-songwriter Trent Bell.
Taking centre stage in the evening will be the second annual Parravision talent competition featuring the best new talent from Parramatta and surrounds with Darren Percival of The Voice as emcee. People can also vote live on the night for the Parramatta Audience Award.
“The response to the audition call-out this year was overwhelming. We are thrilled that so much local talent has been unearthed and people can expect some very strong performances,” Ms Chadwick said.
Judges for Parravision will include Kate Champion – founding Artistic Director of Sydney-based dance-theatre company Force Majeure, Australian television and film actor Luke Carroll, and Robert Love – Director of Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres.
Raffles College Parramatta will be the ‘Style Police’ at Parravision, providing expert make up and styling assistance to the contestants backstage.
“There will be something for everyone at Parramatta Day so I encourage the community to come along to Experiment Farm and join the celebrations on 29 October,” Ms Chadwick said.
People are encouraged to use public transport on the day, with Experiment Farm a comfortable walk from Harris Park and Parramatta Railway Stations. Those who cycle are welcome to join one of the guided ‘bike bus’ tours to the event, departing from Parramatta Park and the River Foreshore, and there will be a free bike valet service onsite thanks to Addventageous.
For the cost of a gold coin donation parking will be available at the nearby St Ioannis Greek Orthodox Church on Purchase Street, open 9am till 9pm. Please note that on-street parking is limited.
City Highlights Tours on ‘Foundations Day’
To celebrate the official Foundations Day on Wednesday 02 November, Council will also host a number of free guided City Highlights walking tours, showcasing Parramatta’s unique aspects, cultural amenities and historical sites. Tours will run on the hour from 10am to 1pm, starting outside Parramatta Town Hall in Centenary Square. There is a maximum 12 people per group. The tours are wheelchair and stroller access friendly.