If you have been following my travels then you will know that I spent Christmas and New Year in a tiny town in SA while we are getting our regional work done. As January came to an end we found ourselves yet again in this small town for another big Australia festival. With piles of work to be done we not only found ourselves here but having to work every day over the holiday period. I found myself disappointed with the situation we were in, missing out on another festival in the city and not able to even party and enjoy ourselves here.
How wrong I was to be thinking this… With the extra work we were doing it enabled us to afford some nicer alcohol than ‘Goon’ – any backpacker will know how much you come to hate goon but how you cannot afford to drink anything nicer. So with the nicer alcohol purchased and the Waikerie oval gearing up for a good night ahead our spirits were lifted. After a sausage sizzle on the boat and some drinks down us we headed over to the Waikerie oval.
It was a $2 entry fee which we all grudged paying for all of about 5 minutes. After being given free flags and making our way through the crowds we soon realised that the atmosphere was electric inside the oval. I haven’t been to a festival with an atmosphere like that since Blissfest in Northern Michigan 2011. With a band playing from the side of a huge truck and a make shift dance floor there wasn’t much more you could have wanted for a good party. The band had the music spot on with good old 80’s and 90’s cheese music, there were people of all ages dancing their hearts out.Not only was there music but plenty of carnival stalls – a huge bouncy slide, zorbing on water, shooting cans to win a teddy etc. all slightly pricey for us backpackers but it was certainly keeping the kids entertained of all the local families.
At 10 pm there was an electric firework display over the Murray River, being a little town party I thought it would be a few bangs and over but no this display went on for about 15 minutes and getting better as time elapsed. Most of the families left after the fireworks and so did we due to work the next morning, but I left feeling like we had really celebrated Australia day in a personal festival not some big city event with thousands and thousands of people.
Celebrating Australia day in the tiny town of Waikerie actually turned out to be an awesome choice. You would not have gotten such a personal and cheap party in a big city – the music was perfect, the fireworks were great and the whole thing felt so much better for being small scale.