18 January 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (19 - 25 January)

| Dione David
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Montage of pictures from Albion Park Show with cattle, fire stunts, cars and more

The Albion Park Show kicks off this weekend. Image: Albion Park Show Facebook.

The Illawarra social calendar goes off this week. There will be not one but two outdoor cinema experiences and an all-weekend family-friendly folk festival.

Albion Park is the first cab off the rank with the Illawarra’s “shows” and over in Croome, Shellharbour City Council will invite environmentally minded citizens to plant future forests.

In between, diverse arts and crafts workshops offer opportunities to pick up exciting new skills and hobbies.

Here are our top nine picks for the week.

Multiple days

People settling into Wollongong Botanic Gardens for an outdoor film screen at sunset

Grab a snack, a drink and a comfy bean bag and settle in for an outdoor screening by Sunset Cinema. Photo: The Sunset Cinema.

Sunset Cinema Wollongong

When: Multiple dates and times until Saturday 16 March, various times, view schedule
Where: Wollongong Botanic Garden, Murphys Avenue, Wollongong
Cost: General admission $22, concession student $17, child under three free, book here.

The Sunset Cinema has returned with its signature mix of new releases, family favourites and all-time classics, screened in the lush open-air surrounds of Wollongong Botanic Garden. Grab the family and get ready to soak up the alfresco atmosphere from the comfort of the Sunset Lounge, where you will enjoy premium bean lounges in a reserved area with prime viewing and bottomless popcorn. There’s a fully licensed snack bar, and dinner is sorted by local legend His Boy Elroy.

All weekend

Banner for Illawarra Folk Festival.

This festival brings three glorious summer days of music from international and Aussie artists and local legends to the region. Image: Illawarra Folk Festival Facebook.

Illawarra Folk Festival

When: Friday 19 January to Sunday 21 January, various times
Where: Bulli Showground Markets, Grevillea Park Road, Bulli
Cost: Three-day adult $175, three-day youth (12 – 17) $60, Friday adult $60, Friday youth $20, Saturday adult $80, Saturday youth $35, Sunday adult $70, Sunday youth $35, child (under 12) free, book here.

Against the spectacular backdrop of the northern Illawarra escarpment, more than 200 international and Australian artists and local legends will converge to bring this compact, family-friendly festival to the Illawarra. Expect three summer days of folk, world, roots, bluegrass, gypsy and Celtic music alongside poetry, comedy and dance, a folk music school, stalls galore, camping and free parking onsite.


Flyer for Albion Park Show

Albion Park Show promises a day of family fun. Image: Albion Park Show Facebook.

Albion Park Show – Main Day

When: Saturday 20 January, 8:30 am to 9:30 pm
Where: Albion Park Showground, 108A Tongarra Road, Albion Park
Cost: Adult $20, children five to 14 years $10, family (two adults, two children) $50, children under five years free.

Nothing says family fun like a good old-fashioned show day. Gather the crew for Albion Park Show’s main event on Saturday 20 January. Billed as “The Biggest Little Show on the Coast”, it promises “all the fun of the fair” with showjumping and horse and pony events, woodchopping, cattle judging, poultry, animal nursery, truck displays, a “kids corner”, sideshow alley, food and market stalls, pavilions full of cooking, art, handicrafts and fresh produce ready for judging, ringside entertainment and a Worldwide Demolition Motor X stunt show. The festivities conclude with a fireworks display. Check out the full program here.

Flyer for screening of Sing 2 at Guest Park

This free community event comes courtesy of One Agency Fairy Meadow. Image: One Agency Facebook.

Outdoor cinema: Sing 2

When: Saturday 20 January, 7 pm (for 8 pm movie start)
Where: Guest Park, Cambridge Avenue, Fairy Meadow
Cost: Free.

Grab the family and the picnic rug or folding chairs and settle in for an outdoor screening of Sing 2 on a giant five-metre screen. This free community event is hosted by One Agency JD Property Agents in Fairy Meadow. Make sure to partake of the barbecue provided by Fairy Meadow Rotary Club to raise funds for community projects, or BYO food and drinks. Please note: In the case of inclement weather, the movie will be postponed to another date, to be announced on Facebook by 3 pm on the day.

Banner for free reptile show at Warilla Bowls and Recreation

A chance for the kids to meet some fascinating reptiles these school holidays. Image: Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club.

Warilla Bowls Reptile Show

When: Monday 22 January, 5 pm
Where: Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club, 63 Jason Avenue, Barrack Heights
Cost: Free.

Have you got a little naturalist or zoologist at home these school holidays? Warrila Bowls Club has set up the perfect opportunity for your kids to learn about and interact with fascinating reptile friends. Admission is free, and lunch will be available at any of the four in-house vendors – The Burger Box, Pizza Dal Verde, Red Sands Smoke & Grill and Cowries Cafe.

Banner for art workshop by Expressive Art - drawing fictional characters

Learn drawing techniques to bring your favourite fictional characters to life. Image: Expressive Art

Teens Art Workshop: Sketching Fictional Characters

When: Monday 22 January, 2:30 to 5 pm
Where: Expressive Art Experience, 13 Newing Circuit, Kiama Downs
Cost: $45, book here.

In this workshop, suitable for young artists aged 12 and above, learn to bring your favourite fictional characters to life with pens and pencils. All painting materials are provided, and Expressive Art’s Tiffany Springett offers expert guidance on drawing techniques. Please note: Participants should wear paint-friendly clothing, but aprons will be loaned. You are welcome to bring your own snacks.


A florist is working with her young daughter and making a terrarium

Discover the mindful and rewarding art of terrarium creation. Photo: Envato/astakhovyaroslav.

Tweens and Teens Terrariums Workshop

When: Tuesday 23 January, 10 am to noon
Where: The Waterfront Sales Centre, Shops 1&2, 100 Cove Boulevard, Shell Cove
Cost: $10, book here.

A school holiday workshop for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Ariana Mazevski from Tuesday Euphoric will guide participants on using easy-care succulents to create a beautiful mini microclimate for your desk or bedroom. The workshop is suitable for children aged eight to 18, and a carer ticket comes free with every child ticket. Spaces are limited, so book soon to avoid disappointment.

Banner for VR Art workshop at Blackbutt Youth Centre

You’re invited to create art on a limitless virtual canvas. Image: Shellharbour Youth Services.

VR Art Workshop

When: Tuesday 23 January, 10 am to 1 pm
Where: Blackbutt Youth Centre, LOT 201, Cygnet Avenue, Shellharbour City Centre
Cost: $10, book here.

Discover the place where art and technology meet and where cutting-edge techniques are used to create masterpieces. Nested Realities is headed to Blackbutt Youth Centre to teach participants how to use the Google VR application Tilt Brush to create their own digital 3D artwork. Young people can create 3D artwork with brilliant, animated brushes and a limitless canvas. Finished artworks can be uploaded and viewed on Google Poly. Spots are limited so book soon.


Banner for Future Forests planting day

Join this community event to plant a better future. Image: Sustainable Shellharbour.

Future Forests Community Planting Day

When: Wednesday 24 January, 10 am to 1 pm
Where: John O’Dwyer Oval, Croome Reserve, Croome Road, Albion Park Rail
Cost: Free, book here.

Calling all environmentalists – this community planting day kicks off at John O’Dwyer Oval carpark, with a goal to plant 2000 native seedlings to help restore habitat corridors for local animal species. Don’t forget to wear closed-in shoes, protective clothing and a hat. Gloves, sunscreen and a post-planting sausage sizzle will all be provided. Please ensure you book a ticket for each person attending on the day (children included).

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