So, Australia Day is just around the corner. It's a time for sober reflection of what's great about our nation, and for family celebrations that include something beachy and community-minded, with lamingtons and lamb thrown in for good measure. But we can't get away from the stereotypes and it looks like Brisbane reckons "If you can't beat them, join them" because around the city you'll find a sprinkling of true blue, dinky di, bonza, ocker Australian entertainment. I'm thinking pubs (preferably with beer), and races involving cockroaches, eskies and cane toads. Brisbane will serve it all up this Australia Day with sausage sizzles on the side. And you wouldn't really want it any other way, would you?
Trust Brisbane to find an honourable use for the disgusting Periplaneta australasiae. For 364 days a year they're reviled, poisoned and stomped on, but come Australia Day and these creepiest of creepy crawlies come into their own at the Story Bridge Hotel's Australia Day Cockroach Races, this year celebrating its 32nd birthday. As well as the the quest to find the quickest cocky, there will be entertainment, the hugely popular Miss Cocky competition (fancy that on your resume, girls?) and the Best Stable Costume competition. You're welcome to BYO cocky, but if you don't have your own personal supply $5 will buy you an intrepid racer, specially bred in Victoria (enough said).
Image from event website
When: Saturday 26 January. Gates open at 11am with races from 12 noon. Where: Story Bridge Hotel, 200 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane Cost: Gold coin donation. Proceeds go to Variety, the Children's Charity. $5 to enter a cockroach in a race. Race Rules: Rules are strictly policed and hugely entertaining. Check them out here. More Information: Visit the website or Facebook page.
If there's one thing Australia is known for around the world it's beer. And Queensland craft beer is now recognised as some of the best in the world. You can celebrate all things beer this Australia Day at Fluid Festival presented by the Beer Lovers Guide. There will be more than 50 different beers and ciders for your tasting pleasure, as well as live music and food. You can also enjoy The Beer Lovers Guide to Extreme Beer, hosted by amber ale aficionado and writer, Matt Kirkegaard or the The Critics Choice Lunch hosted by Pete Mitcham. It'll be bloody good, beery fun.
When: 26 January from 11am to 4pm. Where: Pig 'N' Whistle pub, Riverside Centre, Eagle Street, Brisbane. Cost: Festival entry $10 if pre-booked online or more at the door. Critics Choice Lunch $75. Beer Lovers Guide to Extreme Beer $60. More Information: Book online here.
Normanby 1000w Esky Races
All Australians know that a good beer needs to be icy cold and the best way to ensure just the right chill is to store it an esky full of ice (no artificial substitutes will do). Well, the folks at Brisbane's Normanby Hotel have decided that the humble esky is the new billy cart. They've revved them and decked them out and now they want you to race them in the carpark. There will also be games, entertainment, a barbeque and the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. On Sunday 27 January they will also be hosting the Midori Beach Volley Ball Championships, but since beach volleyball isn't quintessentially Australian I haven't included it here. See the website for details.
When: From midday, Saturday 26 January Where: Normanby Hotel, 1 Musgrave Road, Red Hill More information: You will need to check the Facebook page closer to the event for your chance to be one of the lucky racers.
Cane Toad Races @ Coolum
With faces and forms that only a mother could love, one could almost feel sorry for the infamous cane toad. Introduced in a misguided attempt at biological control of a sugar cane beetle, the ugly brutes have been expanding their habitat ever since, and there are reports that suggest that there are now 10 toads for every person in Australia. Uuggh!. Like cockroaches, the one day of the year they become socially acceptable is Australia Day.
They'll be at Coolum, warts and all, for the famous Cane Toad Open Handicap as part of Australia Day celebrations.again this year. Come and watch the action and place a friendly bet on toey toads like this year's favourite, Corporate Clive (no prizes for guessing which Queensland businessman he's named after), last year's winner, Sink the Slipper, who's getting no interest from the punters, and Jumpy Julia, who's known for watching her back. What a hoot.
Cane toad. Image by Bidgee from Wikimedia Commons.
When: 26 January. Toads will be auctioned from 3pm with the race from 3.15pm. Where: Tickle Park, Coolum More information: All profits will go to charities supported by Coolum Lions. Check the website for more information closer to the date.