Canberra Day and Enlighten Festival attract thousands | The Canberra Times

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People have ventured out to make the most of the Canberra Day long weekend with anecdotal reports of record-breaking crowds. The festivities started on Saturday as thousands of eager Canberrans awoke before dawn to witness the first flight of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Ruth Wilson, who has been at every launch since the annual festival started in 1987, said she had never seen a crowd so large on the first day of the event. Luckily, it’s not too late to experience the festival. The sky will receive a burst of colour as the territory plays host to 25 hot air balloons from around the world until March 20. Rug up, pack a thermos and head to the Patrick White Lawns at 6.15am for launch at around 7am, weather permitting. An array of events were held over the weekend as part of Canberra Day and the Enlighten Festival. It’s not too late to celebrate, head to the Canberra Day Festival on Monday afternoon as multicultural food, entertainment, stalls and workshops bring Commonwealth Park to life. The festivities will continue until 8pm with a jam-packed calendar of events. The jewel in the crown for many was the Black Opal Stakes held at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday afternoon. Punters gathered en masse to witness the annual race and cheer on this year’s winner: Queen of the Ball. Canberra Racing Club chief executive Andrew Clark spoke to The Canberra Times on Sunday and said the atmosphere was buzzing. READ ALSO: “It’s brilliant to have an atmosphere again. To hear some of the cheers when horses come from the rear to be involved in the finish or if there’s a tight finish, it’s been fantastic just to hear that cheer and the buzz of a crowd again,” Clark said. “It looks fairly full from what I can see. It’s not only the club, it helps the entire industry. It helps the club financially of course, but it’s good to just have the buzz and the excitement. “It’s almost like the start again, as we start a new normal with people being able to enjoy themselves again.” Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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