19 May 2023

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

| Dione David
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Man looks at colourful trees lit up at a Laservision laser light and sound installation

Blackbutt Forest in Shellharbour is about to be transformed into an enchanted forest. Photo: Laservision.

It’s the last month of autumn and the Illawarra has well and truly cooled down, but our vibrant communities continue to beckon us out of the house with plenty of variety on our social calendar.

Parents and caregivers of children aged three to six, make sure to contact your local library or learning institute to see if they’re participating in National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday 24 May from 11 am to 12 pm.

Otherwise, there’s lots happening on the live music scene, in workshops and celebrations for crafts and motoring enthusiasts and a few events designed for the whole family.

We’ve pulled our top nine picks together below.

Comic Gong 2023 poster art featuring a super hero Astrid and her ape friend Astro in a tuxedo and monocle

Figtree artist Marcelo Baez is behind the epic poster art for Comic Gong 2023. Image: Wollongong City Council.

Comic Gong Cosplay Ball

When: Friday 19 May, 7 pm to 10 pm
Where: Wollongong Town Hall, corner Crown and Kembla Streets, Wollongong
Cost: $35, book here

Part two of Comic Gong 2023 is for people aged 18 years and older who are keen to unleash their cosplay creativity and step into a world of fantasy and fun with fellow fans. Billed as “the ultimate night out for cosplay enthusiasts”, there will be live music and a DJ set, a photo booth and individual and group contests for the chance to win some great prizes. In addition, the licensed bar offers themed cocktails available for purchase.

Three members of Kings of The Blues with guitars on stage

The Kings of The Blues – BB, Freddie and Albert King – are coming to Anita’s. Photo: Kings of The Blues.

Kings of The Blues

When: Friday 19 May, from 6:30 pm
Where: Anita’s Theatre, 264-270 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul
Cost: $69.50, book here

BB, Freddie and Albert King – AKA the Kings of Blues – were widely recognised as “the pinnacle of blues guitar virtuosity”. Their signature style is headed to Anita’s via three great Australian players – Geoff Achison, Dave Hole and Shane Pacey. Paying homage to these three blues giants, this show is not to be missed for fans of the genre in the Illawarra.

Wollongong Conservatorium of Music's BlueScope Youth Orchestra gather in front of a tree

Experience the BlueScope Youth Orchestra’s “Through the Ages” repertoire and support a good cause. Photo: Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.

Red Shield Appeal Concert

When: Saturday 20 May, from 6:30 pm
Where: The Salvation Army, 11-13 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $15, concession $5, payable upon entry

The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music’s BlueScope Youth Orchestra (BSYO) gathers once more for this annual one-night-only concert to do their part in raising the more than $800,000 needed for the Salvation Army to continue its community work in the Illawarra. Experience some wonderful music by local musicians as the BSYO performs its “Through the Ages” repertoire including a range of lively pieces including Vanhal’s energetic and inspiring Symphony in D Minor, Vivaldi’s famous Winter from The Four Seasons and five dance pieces spanning the centuries.

Various types of stitching

Join Michele Elliot in the meditative art of slow stitching. Photo: Michele Elliot.

Slow Stitch with Michelle Elliot

When: Saturday 20 May, 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Kiama Art Workshops, 1 Blowhole Point Road, Kiama
Cost: $170, book here

Join skilled artist Michele Elliot as she guides you through the meditative craft of slow stitching. Michele will work with you to repair a piece of clothing, covering slow stitching, hand embroidery, simple pattern making and practical tips on “visible mending” (patching and repairing tears and holes with decorative stitches). Beginners are welcome, and some materials and tools are supplied – bring your own sewing kit, and clothing in need of TLC.

A man takes a photo of a laser light projection by Laservision

Laservision, the creator of The Enchanted Forest, is behind some of the world’s most celebrated laser and sound installations. Photo: Laservision.

The Enchanted Forest

When: Saturday 20 May to Sunday 11 June, from 6 pm
Where: Blackbutt Forest, Shellharbour Road, Barrack Heights
Cost: Family (two adults and two children) $30, adult $12.50, children (under 17) $8.50, infants (three and under) free

An immersive spectacle of light and sound is set to transform Shellharbour’s Blackbutt Forest Reserve into an enchanted forest. Expect dazzling laser effects, interactive projections, lush soundscapes and magical holograms in this multisensory experience. Sessions run for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours and low sensory sessions are available. Read the full article here.

Poster for The Fraternity Club Fairy Meadow Castagne Day

This day of family fun marks the beginning of the Italian nut season. Image: The Fraternity Club Fairy Meadow.

Castagne Day

When: Sunday 21 May, 10 am to 4 pm
Where: The Fraternity Club Fairy Meadow, 11 Bourke Street, Fairy Meadow
Cost: Free entry, prepurchased unlimited rides package $25 ($35 on the day), three-ride pass $25, single ride pass $10

This event marks the beginning of the Italian nut season, paying tribute to Italians who survived World War II by gathering castagne (chestnuts) and turning them into bread after their corn and grain fields were bombed. With the smell of traditional roasting chestnuts wafting through the air, you’re invited to browse the market stalls, partake of a range of international foods and take in the live entertainment and demonstrations while the kids enjoy all their favourite carnival rides.

Vintage car and caravan at The Australian Motorlife Museum in Kembla Grange

The Australian Motorlife Museum is the perfect Illawarra meeting point to celebrate the 17th National Motoring Heritage Day. Photo: The Australian Motorlife Museum.

National Motoring Heritage Day

When: Sunday 21 May, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Where: The Australian Motorlife Museum, Integral Energy Recreation Park, 94 Darkes Road, Kembla Grange
Cost: Adults $15, children (six to 16) $5, payable upon entry

This Australian Historic Motoring Federation initiative is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of May, supported by heritage and historic motoring clubs throughout Australia. Illawarra owners and lovers of vintage, veteran and classic vehicles are invited to converge at The Australian Motorlife Museum in Kembla Grange. A sausage sizzle and other refreshments will be available for purchase, discounted museum admission and plenty of opportunity to clap eyes on some special vehicles and meet fellow enthusiasts.

Kidsfest Shellharbour

When: Sunday 21 May to Saturday 27 May, various times, see the program
Where: Various Shellharbour locations, see the program
Cost: Free

The 15th instalment of NSW’s longest-running free weeklong festival for children, families and carers, this year’s theme is “Planting Seeds of Diversity and Delight”. Local businesses and community organisations across Shellharbour City will partner in a schedule of free events to encourage social inclusion and an enhanced sense of belonging for participants. See the full program and make sure you book to avoid disappointment.

Flutes in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Experience Beethoven, Edvard Grieg and Strauss as performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Wollongong. Photo: Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The Sydney Symphony Performs Beethoven

When: Wednesday 24 May, from 7:30 pm
Where: Wollongong Town Hall, corner Crown and Kembla Streets, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $60, pensioner/senior/groups 8+ $50, student/under 15 $25, book here

In Wollongong for one night only, experience the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as they play through three favourites in one memorable concert. Beethoven’s wealth of ideas and spirit continue to make people feel something they have never felt before; Edvard Grieg’s celebration of Norwegian culture recalls the joyous dances of earlier times, and Strauss’ romantic Oboe Concerto is brought to life through the virtuosity of Sydney Symphony’s principal oboist, Diana Doherty.

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