Although the school holidays are almost over, the sunshine, surf and sand still beckons. Here, local journalist Carla Grossetti finds four great reasons to chase the sun over the coming weeks.
Australian Boardrider’s Battle – January 23-24
Cronulla has long been a playground for committed surfers. And it will be impossible not to get sucked into that preoccupation with the excitement of the Australian Boardrider’s Battle in full flow this weekend. As well as supporting some of the best surfers on the local club circuit, there’s a real festival atmosphere as crowds clump together near Dunningham Park in Cronulla to watch boardriders from all around the country battle it out in the surf. When the competition winds up, dust the sand off and head to one of the nearby bars such as Zinc, Old Joe’s or El Sol for a cold bevvie or two.
Australia Day Running Festival – January 26
Wanda Beach is a kind of canvas. It’s all sun, sea and sand, and it attracts different tribes who make it their own according to the various activities they are drawn to. Jock Athletic have been motivating and inspiring runners in the Wanda Sandhills for more than two decades and will showcase the form of their athletes with the 10th Australia Day Running Festival. Choose from the 2.5km Jane McGrath Classic 2.5km fun run, the Jane McGrath Classic 3km walk, Laura’s Bolt Corporate Dash 400m relay or the Wanda X-Treme (6 km including sandhills).
Australia Day in the Sutherland Shire – January 26
Every year, hundreds of people pour into Cronulla on Australia Day. The entertainment kicks off at 1pm with a local multicultural dance group, which reflects the diverse cultural heritage of those who call the southern beaches home, and includes a circus playground, a cameo from members of the Cronulla Sharks as well as acclaimed acts Busby Marou, Dragon, Mark Vincent and Rachel Beck. The party whirrs on until 9pm and culminates in a giant display of fireworks over the beach in Cronulla. Engadine’s Anzac Oval and Blaxland Oval in Illawong will also feature 9pm fireworks.
Hazelhurst Art Fest, Gymea – February 28
Sharpen your pencil and take note: this year’s art fest at Hazelhurst is set to be bigger than ever. The art fest, which will complement the current exhibition Labours of Love: Australian Quilts 1850-2015, will include a free guided tour of Hazelhurst Gallery, the Wild Ones Art and Design Market and free art-making workshops. The gallery has been garnering even more attention since chef James Watson took over the cafe and molded it, like a bit of clay, into one of the most attractive garden cafes in Sydney. Pull up a perch at the café and find your groove with DJ Mr Crispe.