One of the things I really enjoy about stalking random people on Instagram during summer, is all the road trip pictures. Not because I love scenery pics (which I do, incidentally), but because people who feel the need to take IG photos along the drive, also tend to gravitate towards some of Australia’s most ‘special’ landmarks.
Not that I can remember many of those landmarks now, but a great proportion of them seem to be in Queensland, and they all involve overly large figurines of quintessentially Australian things. Such as bananas and shoes and lobsters. (Having typed that, it now occurs to me that none of those things are ‘just’ Australian. But anyway…)
Here, in the seaside town of Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, we have our own weird Australian celebration, based on something that probably exists in other countries as well. (Or their oceans at least.)
We call it Tunarama.
Tunarama (it’s the festival (sorry for the earworm anyone in the know)), runs every Australia Day weekend and is a community festival that, according to the brochure, started as a way to showcase the town’s seafood. Which, btw, I’m assured is amazing. (Not really a seafood eater. Although I don’t mind squid. And Boatman keeps disguising fish as calamari and force feeding me that way — I’m basically a three-year-old — so I do kind of eat a little bit of it. ) It’s now a pretty impressive community event that involves rides, a parade, and the opportunity to toss a fake tuna for sport.
Can I just say, as an aside, that small towns are kind of awesome. I never really considered myself a ‘city girl’ (despite Boatman’s insistence that I was), because Darwin is in many ways, just a large country town. However, I’ve since realised that you don’t really understand the country mentality until you’ve experienced it. There’s something quite special about how small towns celebrate together, and in the case of tragic events, grieve together.
Last week, I couldn’t go anywhere in the town without people talking about Tunarama. It’s like the single most exciting event on the calendar (and one, that interestingly enough, increases the town’s population by about a third). Everyone was all, ‘are you hanging around for Tunarama?’ ‘Are you looking forward to Tunarama?’ ‘What are you going to do in Tunarama?’ And this time, for the first time in my life, I could be all like, ‘oh yeah. We’ll be there. Taylah’s in the parade.’
And this is where I get to the actual crux of this blog post. (Only 425 words in.)
So every year, there’s a parade that runs through the main street(s) of the town. There’s all kind of fun floats run by local businesses, groups and charities. This year, the lovely Ash, dance teacher extraordinaire, entered the kids’ dance school in the parade.
Now you may have heard about my evolution to Dance Mum status.
It started with enrolling my kids in dance (so innocent.)
It grew when I was a chaperone at Dance Camp.
Blossomed when I learnt how to whip it.
Slowly, Ash has been drawing me into this role of Dance Mum, and finally, it was time to make it public.
I didn’t even realise what she was asking, so innocent was her request. ‘Hey, we are doing a float at Tunarama. Could you and Bridie hand out some flyers?’
‘Sure,’ I replied, neglecting to think through what that actually meant. Not even considering that this would include actually being in the parade.
How naive I was.
I should have expected this really.
Ash may have started my Dance Mum career by hiding me in the camp kitchen, and behind a video camera. The fun of script writing and production night was just to lull me into a false sense of security before that innocent flyer request led to this:
The Dance Mum vest.
Arguably the epitome of Dance Mum coolness, there was only one place where this vest could be released, that equalled its impressiveness and last Saturday, it made its debut.
Move over Big Banana.
Out of the way Big Lobster.
Keep dreaming, Big Pineapple.
We’ve got Tunarama and a Dance Mum Vest. There’s no topping that.
Do you have any large Australian Icons where you live?
Do you have a Dance Mum Vest?
Who’s coming to Tunarama next year?
We even made the Port Lincoln Times!