Illuminart – Greerton wins again!


Wild weather cancelled the first scheduled performance of IlluminArt the Greerton Village mid-winter festival of art, light and sound. What’s so interesting is that I showed up the first night and while there met two other families – one from Omokoroa and one from Bethlehem – go Greerton we’re coming from around the district to see what you do! Friday 18th July however it was all go and was it cold – clear and crisp. I stoked up on a Burgerfuel chicken something (yum) and then drove on down to Greerton Village where I found a space in the Village Carpark – two steps from the action to come. Cup of tea and a chocolate and macadamia nut biscuit at Zest and then coated up like a small sheep and wearing woollen gloves I hit the street.

First up I walk the path from the Square past the Keenan and Pedersen sculptures. Vivian Keenan has submitted woven nylon jellyfish like sculptures and Wendy Pedersen has the most amazing construction of discarded palm and light. Hanging in the trees are fluorescent painted lanterns of varying sizes. I’m advised to mind the paint on the fluorescent panel “it’s still wet”. Through the arches of little twinkling fairy lights and people taking photographs of themselves and their friends, I’m back on the main road walking past the indefatigable tap dancer.

I can hear some drumming and see little twinkles of light on the other side of the road. All of a sudden there’s a crowd and the Tauranga Samba Band is going for it – it’s Ireland the Caribean and New York and the energy warms the night air as I join the watchers tapping and swaying. The Band leader whistles and motions for us all to move aside and down the road towards the Square moves the Band followed by a procession of children, parents and child-made lanterns. High on stilts are two tall costumed walkers. There are flashes of naked flame and fire.

Into the Square, past the light flashing stage and the lanterns are placed in the gardens beside the path from the square- do another walk through and it looks great. The children’s lanterns look as though there made out of painted calico. They are sitting among the plants like collections of twinkling alien teepee. The band has stayed in front of the stage and continues to perform their routines with unflagging energy.

Over the road in the grounds of the Greerton Primary School is another stage and two huge hotair balloons. They are slowly being filled and gradually rise from the playground. The grounds and the Square and the surrounding roads are filled with families – there are even tiny babies rugged up to Antarctic standards. There are crowds of young and old – the older are wearing more clothes than the young. There’s lots of clusters eating – waffles, sausages, all sorts and the food outlets are open and doing a roaring trade. It’s a happy relaxed crowd. And there’s a big scheduled programme coming up. I’ve been handing out ARTbop promotional flyers as I walk around and around and around! Suddenly all the flyers are gone and I decide I should head home as Saturday is another busy ARTbop day. Despite the crowds I have no difficulty getting my car out of the carpark and back onto Cameron Road. Great work Victoria and the Mainstreet Team – I think you’ve got an icon event there!

Rosemary Balu


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