There are festivals for just about anything these days – tuna, tomatoes, mud, moose shit, cheese rolling, goat tossing, sumo wrestlers with crying babies – but if your heart belongs to beanies, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival is the festival for you.
This four day community-based event is one of the world’s most unique festivals and puts on show thousands of handmade beanies from around the globe. It’s aptly celebrated during winter, when beanies are needed most to enjoy the chilly desert night air, and the festival is full of colour, warmth and artistic talent. The beanie festival started off as a beanie party amongst friends, and this slowly grew into a posse of beanie-ologists.
We were lucky enough to attend the 18th Annual Beanie Festival and were impressed with the various kinds of beanies on show. In every colour of the rainbow, beanies were crocheted, hand felted or needle felted and range from the simple to the intricate masterpiece! Entrants for the best beanies are located as far as Norway, Germany, Japan, and the USA, and the surrounding Indigenous communities also get involved as a way to develop skills.
The Opening Night was a hoot. We rocked up in time for some live music and acrobatics from the Ninja Circus as delicious smells wafted from the busy food stalls. Inside, a few festival goers were buying wine from the bar while a thick crowd had accumulated around a table laden with beanies for sale. After a presentation for the beanie winners and a quick fashion show, the exhibition opened and we were able to browse through some incredible beanies and tea cosies.
The next day, we headed to Beanie Central to check out some more beanies. The place was absolutely packed with both beanies and people, and we got to try on some kooky creations.
Despite being internationally recognised, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival still preserves its modesty and has a certain country simplicity that is clearly displayed in relaxed oration and presentation. This festival makes up for the seriously cold winter nights and if you’re looking to buy a beanie, you will never find a better selection anywhere else.