7 July 2023

Winter wonderland is so hot right now: Festival of W wows visitors from far and wide

| Jarryd Rowley
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man ice-skating

The people of Wagga Wagga have come out in their thousands to enjoy all that the Festival of W has to offer. Photo: Josef Winkler.

The weather may have been cold and wet for the first week of the Festival of W, but that hasn’t stopped festival-goers from coming out in thousands to enjoy ice-skating, projections, music and the Lightvision sky show.

Wagga Wagga City Council has reported more than 5000 people attended the festival’s opening day on Saturday (1 July), packing out Wollundry Lagoon to enjoy the fantastic light show put together by Sydney artists Mandylights.

lights show at festival

The Lightvision show has been the talk of the town since the festival began on Saturday (1 July). Photo: Adam Drummond.

READ ALSO Welcome to the light show: Festival of W is ready to brighten up Wagga

Council destination and events coordinator Kimberly Parker said she had been blown away by the thousands of people who had come to enjoy the 16-day event and that 30 per cent of those who had experienced the festival so far had come from outside the region.

“It has been amazing to see so many people out and about on a chilly winter’s day and night in Wagga Wagga enjoying the festival,” Ms Parker said.

Lightvision, the large-scale light-and-sound show in the Wollundry Lagoon precinct, and Skate Wagga Wagga, a pop-up ice rink in the Victory Memorial Gardens, have both proven popular and not-to-be-missed parts of the festival.

”Lightvision illuminates the festival from 5.30 each evening and you can ice-skate between 9 am and 9 pm each day of the festival too,” Ms Parker said.

floodlights show at festival

Many people around Wagga were surprised to learn that the floodlights filling the night sky at Wollundry Lagoon were part of Mandylights’ newest light show. Photo: Emma Grant Daniels.

The festival will reach its climax this Saturday night (8 July) with national artists Sycco, Hatchie and Tom Snowdon, plus a local line-up of DJ Vino and Vinyl and Social Afterparty putting on a show in Baylis Street.

Live ice carvings will be showcased on Burns Way and street vendors will offer smoked meats, dumplings, loaded fries, desserts, mulled wine, and gin cocktails.

The festival’s dining hub, House of FoW, will continue to offer food and drink around heaters while also being one of the best locations to witness the Lightvision shows.

two girls ice-skating

Bronte and Evelyn brave the rain to get their skates on. Photo: Katrina Roe.

READ ALSO Singing in the rain: Kids sure to warm to libraries’ winter school holiday fun full of music and food

“There’s also a great projection by local artist Alice Peacock on the facade of the museum’s historic council chambers and a soundscape piece inspired by our Wiradjuri culture on the boardwalk over Wollundry Lagoon – both are on each day as well,” Ms Parker said.

“There’s so much to experience and we encourage people to visit our Visit Wagga Wagga website or check our socials to keep up-to-date with what’s happening across the festival.”

Ms Parker is encouraging those who haven’t yet attended the festival to come to the Wollundry Precinct and check out the many attractions.

“You have until 16 July to experience Festival of W, so if you haven’t been down yet, there’s still time.”

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