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Alice Springs Beanie Festival

If you’re missing winter fashion and need a chilly get-away, the Alice Springs Beanie Festival has got you covered.

Walking into the Araluen Arts Centre to see more than 7000 beanies hanging from the roof truly needs to be experienced to be believed.

Chief beanie-ologist Jo Nixon says there’re no ways to adequately explain the visual fiesta of the beanie bonanza.

“It’s an explosion of colour, warmth, texture and joy,” she says.

Nixon says there’re all sorts of incredible creations flowing through the post office this year.

“Each year when I open the parcels I’m surprised, yet again, at what standard we can go to,” she says.

“The festival is a success because the beanie is not only an object of art – it’s wearable art and anyone can wear it. 

“A normal wearable arts festival is not usable wearable art, whereas a beanie, people can wear every day – its like wearing love on your head.”

The festival began as a simple ‘beanie party’ in 1997 to sell beanies crocheted by Indigenous women from the surrounding communities.

Two decades later, elaborate entries come from all over the globe.

“When it first started it was all about sewing beanies for the Indigenous women and teaching them how to make beanies, getting involved with the wider Alice Springs community, and I think we’ve kept the vision,” Nixon says.

“Now the wider community extends to the other side of the world with entries and visitors from as far as Canada, Holland, Japan and Greece.”

The festival is about celebrating wearable art that’s accessible to everyone and anyone.

“We have a strong community focus and we believe that everyone can have a go,” Nixon says.

“Any beanie maker from any standard is encouraged to participate.

“So many arts competitions are exclusive and people feel they’re not good enough and a bit shy. Beanie Festival is all about everyone having a go and feeling good.”

Fri 29 Jun – Mon 2 Jul | Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs | See the event listing

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