10 May 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (10 - 16 May)

| Dione David
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Cosplay runs in the family at Comic Gong.

Cosplay runs in the family at Comic Gong. Picture: Wollongong City Council.

A few big things are going on this week, including headline event Comic Gong and the return of The Great Wani Fete.

Of course, that day for honouring the most important women in our lives – Mother’s Day – brings endless options for celebration. Acknowledging that Mother’s Day is a time when we may need support and care for each other, White Lady Funerals Bulli is holding a Mother’s Day Remembrance Service as well.

There’s a highly anticipated film festival, a Reconciliation Week walk, arts, crafts and the kick-off of Shellharbour’s KidsFest.

Here are our top picks for the week.


Close-up of embrace between adult daughter and her mother

For some, Mother’s Day is a time when we may need to support and care for each other. Photo: Maria Sbytova.

When: Saturday 11 May, 10 am
Where: Lakeside Memorial Park, 230 Kanahooka Road, Dapto
Cost: Free.

White Lady Funerals Bulli is holding a Mother’s Day Remembrance Service to help honour our mothers and all the special women in our lives. In addition to our mums, this event acknowledges the wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends and other women who have nurtured us and our community, helped us flourish and grow and made a huge impact on our lives and the lives of those around them. Celebrant Gaynor Cobby will be the event speaker, joined by special guests, the Welsh Choir. For further information email [email protected] or call 4285 9449.

Banner for Wani Fete

Entertainment, rides, food vendors, market stalls, kids activities, fireworks for the whole community at The Great Wani Fete. Image: Waniora Public School.

The Great Wani Fete

When: Saturday 11 May, 2 to 7 pm
Where: Waniora Public School, 17 Ursula Road, Bulli
Cost: Free entry, buy unlimited ride pass online to save.

The original Wani Fete is returning to Waniora Public School for the first time since 2018 – and the entire community is invited. Expect delicious food and drinks, games, arts and murals, trash and treasures, bake sales, fireworks and good old-fashioned community spirit. Carnival rides will include a giant slide, teacups, Zoomer, Jurassic Adventure Castle and Sizzler. Rides are $10 each, three for $20 or unlimited for $45. There will also be tickets on sale for fabulous raffle prizes from local businesses.

Comic Gong is back to entertain fans of all ages.

Comic Gong is back to entertain fans of all ages. Picture: Wollongong City Council.

Comic Gong

When: Saturday 11 May, 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Wollongong Library, Art Gallery, Town Hall, Arts Precinct and the Lower Crown Street Mall
Cost: Free entry.

Grab the kids and head to the Gong for this free, fun and immersive celebration of comics, cosplay, gaming and pop culture. This year’s line-up is bigger and better than ever with live entertainment, cosplay competitions, fan group meet-ups, VR, arcade and tabletop gaming experiences and more. The huge exhibition hall will bring together dozens of pop culture vendors and artists showcasing everything from comics to collectibles, art and apparel. There’s also loads of interactive family-friendly fun, with superhero shows, crafts, LEGO robotics, circus and K-pop workshops.

Flyer for Stars of Wollongong Bunnings sausage sizzle funraiser

Funds from Bunnings sausage sangas at Port Kembla this week will go to the Cancer Council. Image: Cancer Council.

BBQ with the Stars

When: Saturday 11 May, 9 am to 4 pm
Where: Bunnings Kembla Grange, 640 Northcliffe Drive, Kembla Grange
Cost: Sausage sandwich $3.50, drinks $2.50.

Join Wollongong’s business owners and local personalities – aka the Stars of Wollongong – who are hard at work fundraising for Cancer Council ahead of the big day, when they’ll light up the dance floor. This fundraising effort combines this incredible cause with an Aussie icon – the Bunnings sausage sanga. Join the Stars at Bunnings Port Kembla for a sizzling fundraiser barbecue and meet and greet. For more information visit Stars of Wollongong.


Banner for arts and crafts session at Number 99 in Port Kembla

All parents and guardians are welcome to come, have a cuppa and relax while the experts at Number 99 supervise crafts and games with the littlies. Image: Number 99 Port Kembla.

Crafternoon Mother’s Day Edition

When: Sunday 12 May, 10 am to noon
Where: Number 99, 99 Wentworth Street, Port Kembla
Cost: $12, book here.

As the wet weather continues and you look for ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, why not give mum a well-deserved break, or take her along for a fun craft session – with mess that you can just leave behind. Activities will include Mother’s Day card making, painting, collage, colouring, drawing, loom bands, toys, books and more. The team at Number 99 will facilitate games and activities so you can drop in any time and relax while the kids have fun. This event is recommended for kids aged one to 11, but older children are welcome if they are good with the littlies.


Banner for Kidsfest Shellharbour

Inclusion and belonging are what KidsFest is all about – and the fringe events are no exception. Image: Kidsfest Shellharbour Facebook.

KidsFest Fringe

When: Monday 13 to Friday 17 May, various times
Where: The Imaginarium, Wentworth Street, Shellharbour
Cost: Free, booking details here.

In the lead up to KidsFest Shellharbour comes KidsFest Fringe – a series of events from Monday 13 to Friday 17 May. Expect to get messy with art and play experiences suitable for kids aged 0 to five years. Activities are “hands-on” giving children experiences to create, explore and discover. As with all KidsFest events, this event is here to develop an increased sense of inclusion and belonging.


Flyer showing exterior of Nan Tien Institute for virtual open day

Find out how NTI studies can have a profound impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Image: Nan Tien Institute Facebook.

Nan Tien Institute Virtual Open Day 2024

When: Wednesday 15 May, 4:30 to 5: 30 pm
Where: Nan Tien Institute, 231 Nolan Street, Unanderra
Cost: Free, book here.

Are you interested in studying Buddhism? How about mindfulness or health and social wellbeing? The Nan Tien Institute (NTI) virtual open day is an opportunity for prospective students to enjoy a taste of NTI’s teaching and learn more about the available courses at the institute. Find out how evidence-based practices like mindfulness and compassion can open minds and hearts, and transform individuals and communities. Online sessions will introduce you to faculty and past students and provide an opportunity to learn more about what you can expect as a student of NTI and where further study with NTI might lead you.


Banff Mountain Film Festival

When: Thursday 16 May, 7 to 10 pm
Where: Uni Movies, University Hall, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $32, Group 10+ $29, Child $24, book here.

A selection of award winners and audience favourites from the Banff Mountain Festival is on a global tour, and Wollongong is the next stop. This celebration of the mountain and adventure sports world shares some of the most exhilarating short films from explorers, runners, mountain bikers, skiers, paddlers and climbers from around the globe. Expect captivating short films shot in some of the wildest and remote corners of the world, packed full of mesmerising cinematography, thought-provoking storylines and adrenaline-inducing action sequences.

Banner for Reconciliation Walk by CareWays

This year’s Reconciliation Week theme is ‘Now More Than Ever’. Image: CareWays.

CareWays Reconciliation Walk

When: Thursday 16 May, 11 am to 1 pm
Where: Lakeside Drive Reserve, Koonawarra Bay
Cost: Free.

CareWays Reconciliation Walk will bring together the local community to celebrate and recognise the importance of reconciliation in Australia. There will be a Welcome to Country, a smoking ceremony, speeches from prominent elders, traditional dance performances from local schools and didgeridoo performances. Attendees will then be invited to walk back to Koonawarra Community Centre to show their support of the occasion and connect over a free barbecue lunch at noon. Everyone is welcome.

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