This weekend the umbrella was bundled up into the back of a ute and trucked up the mountain for the ever-charming Winter Magic Festival. This festival holds a special place in my heart, as it was my annual tradition since I was sixteen, until recent European adventures took me elsewhere for the solstice over the past few years.
So I was very excited that this year, not only would I be reunited with my beloved escape, but also to be a part of it. We started the day with hearty breakfast on Katoomba Street (does French toast with banana and syrup classify as hearty?) and then rugged up in fabulous coats, furry hats and elegant gloves before entering the street. We watched the parade cascade past, complete with steampunks, a wicker effigy, somewhat evil giant snowman, circus goths and of course numerous townsfolk dressed as witches and wizards, with fairy wings on their uncomplaining canine companions.
Under the library audiences were surprised and delighted with Kira Carpenter’s poem-turned-puppet show ‘Encounter with a Monster’. Guests were welcomed by the beautifully radiant Matina, resplendent in purple, forest green and feathers, one of Umbrella Theatre’s original members recently returned from an Indian odyssey.
Once again, fascinated children begged to be allowed to see the show twice, hippies posed for photos with our fairy host, and families thanked us for the welcome diversion from the crowds. We had so much fun we stuck around for an extra half hour!
Once the umbrella was all packed away we had a blissful afternoon exploring the festival. Browsing trinkets in the Katoomba Street markets, watching the bizarre Spooky Man’s Chorale, exploring the gorgeous historic Carrington hotel, and dancing like crazy to Neill Duncan and His Exotica Orchestra at the Peasant’s Ball was only the start. We also spent over an hour lost in Mr Pickwick’s antiques, separated as Toby disappeared into the comic book room via a huge pile of ugly ties, Matina made a beeline for a series of three book-filled rooms, and I wandered aimlessly through furniture, vintage sporting equipment and fur coats. We had to recover by sipping warm soup in Common Ground, an unusual cafe that feels like Bilbo Baggin’s basement.
Full photo gallery here.