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Published February 26th 2012
Four Free March Events in Sydney Give your piggy bank and your credit card a rest this March and get out amongst the Autumn sunshine. Sydney is hosting a range of events that are absolutely free. You can let off steam, appreciate art, your neighbours, and all things Irish, and bask in the warm inner glow that comes from getting something for nothing.
March is Art Month in Sydney and there's so much packed into the program it's hard to know where to begin. Most events are free, but for some bookings are essential.
When: From 1 March to 25 March Where: Various Venues around Sydney Features: Art at Night lets you visit galleries between 6 and 10pm and then head on out to the closest participating Art Bar for music and entertainment. Conversations will see experts answering your questions about contemporary art. Creating is a series of workshops to guide beginners in artistic practices such as drawing, photography, papercraft and traditional Korean Hanji. Art Appreciation aims to educate you about the practice of buying and collecting art.
Exhibitions will be held in many galleries around Sydney and include photographic, painting, drawing and object exhibitions. Tours are not the formal art tours that may come to mind. They include guided walking tours, art cycle tours and even the baby-friendly Perambulating Prams in Paddington. Art and Food will combine viewings with dinners and beer tastings. Art Offsite provides opportunities to view art in unusual spaces like theatres, the Rocks and even SBS offices.
Festival of Steam
Although technically about an hour's drive from Sydney I just had to mention this one. Steam - it's so much more than water vapour. Steam engines powered the Industrial Revolution, and today they provide romantic reminders of how things used to be. Historic Thirlmere is home to Trainworks New South Wales Transport Museum and on 4 March the town invites you to "Go Loco For a Day" with a celebration of all things steam.
When: Sunday 4 March from 9.30am to 4 pm Where: Thirlmere, Wollondilly Shire, about 90km south west of Sydney. Features: Free shuttle buses will run from nearby Picton and Tahmoor to the festival. There will be steam trains on display, craft, fashion, gift and food stalls, rides and face painting, a street parade featuring classic cars, steam powered vehicles, floats and bands. Music and Steam will present a lineup of performers including Jemma. Shanae, Demi Heaver and the Moonshiners.
Sydney's Governor Lachlan Macquarie declared 17 March an official Irish celebration day in 1810, and those of us of Irish descent have been partying ever since. In what some would say is true Irish style this year the St Patrick's Day Parade and Family Day is on 18 March and it will be bigger than Finn McCool.
When: Sunday 18 March. Pre-Parade entertainment from 10.30am. Parade at 12 midday. Family Day from 1pm until 6.30pm. Where: Parade begins at Town Hall - corner of George and Bathurst Streets and finishes at Hyde Park, near St James Station. Family Day at Hyde Park Features: Floats and bands, Irish music, dancing and food, a bar serving Guinness (what else?), and family area with rides, face painting and clowns, and annual Citizenship ceremony from 2pm.
NSW Police and the City of Sydney are firing up barbeques all over Sydney's inner suburbs throughout March. These are opportunities to meet and greet your neighbours and learn about what's being done to improve your local area.
When: From Sunday 4 March to Sunday 1 April. Where: Neighbourhoods include Glebe, Pyrmont, Ultimo, Newtown, Zetland, Woolloomooloo, Waterloo, Erskineville and Surry Hills. You can download the flyer with full details here. Features: Barbeques, reptile encounters, live music and children's activities.