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Emerge Festival: The best events for families (and foodies!)

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Each year, the Emerge Festival is a family and kids’ paradise, with its multitude of colourful and entertaining experiences, hosted by Willoughby City Council. And now the North Shore’s biggest and brightest spring festival is back with nearly 60 events, with plenty for children, teens and young people. Here are our favourite picks!


Family Highlights

1. The Concourse Kids Zone

Perfect for tweens, children and families with loads of school holiday activities!

Parents can kick back and relax while the children are entertained for free in the special kids’ zone at The Concourse. Head down to the pop-up DIY Hut with different activities each day – learn to make slime, craft your own dream catcher or design a tie dye creation to take home. Drop-in sessions run throughout the day, arrive early to avoid missing out.

DIY Hut Schedule

  • Slime Making: 3/10/18 11 am – 3 pm
  • Tie Dying: 4/10/18 11 am – 3 pm (please BYO t-shirt to dye)
  • Dream Catcher: 5/10/18 11 am – 3 pm

Get a sneak peek backstage at The Concourse dance studio and join Dance Central for awesome workshops. Learn hip hop, popping, breakdancing and other funky moves. Five 45 minute sessions run daily from 11 am – 3 pm, each featuring a different dance style.  *Bookings essential  for this session and an age limit applies. Festival Oasis, 3-5 Oct, 11am – late. Plus, free family movies each night from 5pm, a perfect place for a picnic, grabbing something delicious from The Concourse restaurants.

  • Where: The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
  • When: Wednesday 3 – Friday 5 October, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • More Info: Emerge Festival Oasis
  • Cost: Free

Parents can kick back while children are entertained for free in the special kids’ zone


2. Pre-Schoolers Bush Scrambles

Spring has sprung and the park is alive with flowers and tiny bush babies [PJ3] waiting to be discovered. Take a walk on the wild side with your toddler and introduce them to the gorgeous natural world all around us. After the walk the children will enjoy a story time.

  • Where: Muston Park, Eden Street, Chatswood
  • When: Wednesday, 12 September 2018 10:00 am – 11:30 am
  • Cost: Free
  • More Info: Bush Scrambles

Take a walk on the wild side with your toddler and introduce them to the natural world


3. The Gruffalo, Live on Stage

As the famous story says…a mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood …

After sell-out seasons across the world, including London’s West End and Broadway, The Gruffalo returns to Australia.

Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in this magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3+ and their grown-ups.

  • When: 9, 10, 11 & 12 September, various times
  • Where: The Concourse Theatre, 409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood
  • Cost: $36
  • More details: The Gruffalo Live on Stage

The famous children’s story The Gruffalo comes to life on stage


4. Jeral Puppets present Three Little Pigs

Puppeteria Theatre’s resident puppet company Jeral Puppets returns to the Emerge Festival for the 12th year with delightful shows for children aged 2 – 5 years. Puppeteria Theatre gives children the opportunity to experience theatre in a small, intimate environment built especially for puppets.

  • When: 4, 7, 12, 16, 17, 20 & 23 September, 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  • Where:  Puppeteria Theatre, 12 Denawin Ave, Castle Cove
  • Cost: Adult $15, Child $12
  • More details: Jeral Puppets present Three Little Pigs

Puppeteria Theatre’s resident puppet company Jeral Puppets returns to the Emerge Festival


5. Fashion Lecture Series at Chatswood Chase

Join Claudia Chan Shaw for a series of informative lectures on fashion ranging from Coco Chanel and the evolution of the little black dress through to the origin of the stiletto shoe.

Discover Chanel’s influence and the legacy of the Little black dress. 100 years on, the designs and ideas created by CocoChanel are just as relevant today. We have Chanel to thank for popularising the Little Black Dress, championing pants for women, and creating the first designer branded fragrance.

Join Claudia Chan Shaw for a series of informative lectures on fashion


Food Highlights

1. Within 100 Local Produce Market

Experience the best locally produced food at the inaugural Within 100 market. Featuring sustainable agriculture, fresh seasonal produce and homemade items, this exciting new market celebrates fresh, top quality gourmet food and local businesses all found within 100 km of Chatswood.

Indulge the senses in a foodie’s wonderland featuring fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, free range eggs, honey, plants and flowers. Try homemade preserves, jams and chutneys, olive oil and vinegars, cheese, artisan bread, cakes and pastries. Bring the family and support local producers in this relaxed community focused event.

  • When: Saturday 22 September, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Where: Chatswood Mall, Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
  • Cost: Free
  • More details: Within 100 Local Produce Market

Experience the best locally produced food at the inaugural Within 100 market


2. Willoughby Craft Beer Fair

Showcasing the latest and greatest craft beers with wine, local cuisine, live music and entertainment for the kids.

Exhibiting breweries include fresh faces to the market, as well as the established greats who are eager to present classic brews, seasonal favourites and special limited editions sure to entice all from the most discerning beer enthusiast to the novice.

  • When: Sunday 16 September, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Where: Willoughby Hotel, 315 Penshurst Street, and MacMahon Street, North Willoughby
  • Cost: Free entry to the fair, tasting tickets additional
  • More details: Willoughby Craft Beer Fair

Showcasing craft beers with wine, local cuisine, and live music


3. Thai Cooking Demonstration

Learn how to make the Thai dish Pad Kee Maw.

This dish is made spicy and flavoursome with the addition of garlic, chilli and Thai basil. It contains an assortment of vegetables as well as protein such as pork, chicken or tofu, making it a well-balanced meal.

  • When: Tuesday 25 September, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
  • Where: MOSAIC Multicultural Centre, 12 Brown Street, Chatswood
  • Cost: $5
  • More details: Thai Cooking Demonstration

Learn how to make the Thai dish Pad Kee Maw

  • When: Sunday 16 September, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Where: Willoughby Hotel, 315 Penshurst Street, and MacMahon Street, North Willoughby
  • Cost: Free entry to the fair, tasting tickets additional
  • More details: Taste of Asia Food Tour

4. Taste of Asia Food Tour

Join award-winning Taste Cultural Food Tours on a tasting adventure in Chatswood, Sydney’s newest and most exciting ‘Little Asia’.

Over the last few years Chatswood has grown into an exciting hub of authentic Asian cuisine and culture, attracting the best brands and unique family owned businesses. It is where Korea meets Hong Kong, with China and Japan just around the corner. On this tasting and culture tour you will try the traditional and the modern, authentic and fusion, and tour tastebuds will be forever grateful. Taste some of the best Asian dishes on offer in Chatswood while you learn about the history of Chatswood and the culture of its residents.

This is far from your typical food tour! If you like exploring new cultures and communities and building relationships through food, then this is the experience for you. Let local guides share their secrets on the best places to eat, experience new cuisine and shop for the most authentic dishes and ingredients.

  • When: Saturday 29 September, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm
  • Where: Various locations
  • Cost: $99
  • More details: Taste of Asia Food Tour

Join award-winning Taste Cultural Food Tours on a tasting adventure in Chatswood


5. Matsuri Sydney Japan Festival 2018

The Matsuri Japan Festival 2018 celebrates Japanese culture and heritage through traditional arts and crafts, performances and a large range of food stalls. Join in Japanese tea, ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), calligraphy and origami workshops.

Learn more about traditional Japanese art and enjoy performances including Taiko drumming and martial arts.

The Matsuri Japan Festival 2018 celebrates Japanese culture and heritage


For more ideas of things to do on and around the North Shore, browse our Out & About section.

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