The middle of winter is a very busy time in Alice Springs. On June 29th, the base held a party to celebrate Territory Day and Independence Day. We had fun hanging out with our friends and watching a great fireworks display. It was definitely different from a U.S. 4th of July celebration, not the least of which is the fact that we were wearing coats and hats! No patriotic parades or music, and less red, white, and blue clothing (again, coats). Territory Day, which falls on July 1st, marks the day the Northern Territory got self governance back in 1978. Around Alice it’s a huge celebration. From our back yard we saw or heard dozens of fireworks shows going off, and they kept it up most of the night. Despite the holiday, the town doesn’t shut down until the Friday.
Friday is Show Day. The Show is the NT version of a county fair. There’s a rodeo, livestock shows, craft fairs, and carnival rides. We spent a few hours wandering around checking out the booths and enjoying the food (pro-tip: Twisters (spiral cut, deep fried potatoes) are delicious and the Scouts have pretty tasty steak sandwiches).
We enjoyed visiting the livestock (chickens!) and the local exhibits. The Volunteer Bush Firefighters did a live fire demonstration to talk about fire breaks and bush fires. Then, we went and met the Desert Park’s newest resident – a fully grown wedge-tailed eagle.
Not all of the events are official – later that night, we got dressed up and went to a neighborhood Superhero/Villain party. Ashley was Batgirl and Drew was a Dastardly Villain (putting the mustache to good use). There have also been numerous farewell parties. Summer is a big turn-over time for turnover, so we’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of our new friends.
But don’t worry, no one in Alice takes life too seriously. Exhibit A: Camel Cup. That’s right, we also spent a lovely Saturday watching semi-qualified people race camels around a track.
There were some serious races, and a few crazy ones. The “Newlyweds” race had a guy ride a camel halfway down the track, then stop and pick up his “bride”. To get on or off a camel, it needs to be on the ground, so the racers had to make the camels sit and get up again. As you might imagine, hilarity ensued. One rider couldn’t get his camel going the right direction, so he ended up backtracking back to the camel pens.
And yes, camels are as ridiculous looking while running as you might expect.
More pictures here.