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Eight Free July Events in Melbourne

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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Eight Free July Events in Melbourne

Maybe it's the weather that's produced a flurry of freebie events falling all over Melbourne this month. There's so much happening that I've been forced to expand July's list from 5 to 8 to accommodate it all. Community and indigenous events, projection art, architecture, carpentry, pyrotechnics, skateboarding and beanies (yes, even the humble and oft-maligned beanie) all feature in this month's list.

Docklands Winter Fireworks

Docklands Winter Fireworks will set the winter night sky ablaze on Friday evenings throughout July. It's presented by the City of Melbourne at Waterfront City, Docklands and includes roving family entertainment and a musical soundtrack.

When: Friday evenings 6, 13, 20 and 27 July 2012.
Where: Waterfront City, Docklands. Vantage points around Victoria Harbour and Docklands. Music soundtrack along Waterfront City Promenade.
What's On: Roving entertainment begins at 6.30 pm with fireworks from 7pm.

Artisan Books 12th Annual Beanie Exhibition

Ah, the humble beanie comforter of the cold, winter warmer, fashion statement. Melbourne of all places has good reason to celebrate the beanie. You can see it in all its artistic glory colourful, quirky, textured, woven, felted or knitted at Artisan Books 12th Annual Beanie Exhibition. Last year saw more than 350 submissions on display.

When: From 30 June to 29 July 2012
Where: Artisan Books, 159 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
What's On: Beanie display, as well as Artisan books regular offerings of art, craft and design books.

Shocklands Invitational Street Skateboarding Contest

Much to my surprise manny pads are not a nickname for grandpa's incontinence aids. Apparently they're elevated surfaces used for performing skateboard tricks. You live and learn. If you're already familiar with terms like manny pads, kickers and flatground pop then mark Saturday 21 July on your calendars. The Shocklands NIKE SBA Pro/Am will see Australia's best street skaters pumping out some smooth moves at Docklands.

Image from

When: Saturday 21 July from 11.30.
Where: Shed 4, North Wharf Road, Docklands
What's On: Competitor Practice at 11.30am, Heats from 12noon, Finals at 3.20pm and Presentations at 4.30pm.
More information: Skateboarding Australia website here.

Boyd Opening Event

So, "What is Boyd?" I hear you ask. Situated on the heritage-listed site of the former JH Boyd Girls High School, Boyd is Southbank's newest cultutral feature and a community hub. It includes a library, cafe, creative arts spaces and community meeting rooms. Come along for the official, but fun, opening day celebrations.

When: Saturday 7 July from 10 am to 2pm
Where: Southbank Library, Balston Street, Southbank.
What's On: Free musical entertainment and activities, food stalls and guided tours. Special guests are actor and author William McInnes and children's author Andy Griffiths.
More Information: See the website here.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

First it was The Light in Winter, then Docklands Winter Fireworks and now the 5th annual Gertrude Street Projection Festival will be injecting some much needed illumination into the depths of a Melbourne winter. This community event, now in its fifth year, is a joint effort from artists, traders, community groups and local residents. Over ten July nights Gertrude Street will become a canvas for projection art.

When: From Friday 20 July to Sunday 29 July - 6pm to midnight each evening.
Where: Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
What's On: This year's theme is Elements and projection artists will display their colourful, luminous interpretations on buildings, trees and footpaths.
More Information: The festival map and program will be released in early July and will be available here.

NAIDOC Week 2012 Concert

Presented by the Victorian NAIDOC Committee, the NAIDOC Week 2012 Concert is part of the broader program of NAIDOC Week (1 to 8 July) activities and events. The concert will be a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent and music. Marchers from the NAIDOC Week March will join the rest of the Melbourne community at Federation Square.

When: Friday 6 July from approximately 11.30am to 1.30pm.
Where: Federation Square, Melbourne
What's On: Entertainment by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers.

Open House Melbourne

Melbourne has a rich and diverse history of architecture and design. You can explore 100 of Melbourne's significant buildings at Open House Melbourne on Saturday 28 July and Sunday 29 July.

When: Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 July from 10am to 4pm.
Where: Various Melbourne buildings. You can see the full list of buildings here.
What's On: Guided tours of landmark Melbourne buildings.
More Information: 10 buildings require pre-booking through a ballot. You can apply here until 20 July 2012. You can also purchase a $10 program here.

National Carpenters Day 2012

You only have to look at the burgeoning home renovation industry and the popularisation of "tradies" through renovation shows like The Block, to know that chippies have never been hotter. If you're a chippie you're invited to celebrate National Carpenters Day at Federation Square with carpenters from all over Melbourne and enjoy a free brekkie. If you're not a carpenter, come along for the laughs, the Sexy Legs competition and the National Carpenter of the Year competition.

Image from National Carpenters Day Facebook page.

When: Friday 20 July from 6.30am to 10.30am.
Where: Federation Square, Melbourne
What's On: Free Brekkie, chippie challenges and giveaways, Carpenters Sexy Leg competition and National Carpenter of the Year competition.
More Information: Attending carpenters should register here.

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Why? Eight eclectic events to enjoy.
When: Various dates throughout July. See article for individual event details.
Where: Various venues throughout Melbourne. See article for details.
Cost: All these events are free.
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