Nashville has a great number of little festivals and celebrations. I love the Tomato Art Fest, though as close as I have actually come to it is remembering to pick up a flyer and put it on the bulletin board. My neighborhood has a dragon parade and ice cream social every year. Nashville also has a large and diverse immigrant population. (Hey, my husband upped the Caribbean population by one.) I didn’t realize that it had enough Aussies to merit an Australian Festival but it apparently does and has had enough for 16 years.
We attended the Australian music festival on Saturday night. We only caught the last song of the opening act, then the next two were a Kiwi and then an Aussie country music up and comer. Then this amazing Aboriginal man playing a digeridoo took the stage. It was astounding the sounds he could manipulate from it. Julian was rapt. Then Colin Hay, yes the former front man from Men at Work, was the headliner. He rocked. The fortysomethings who had been teens in the early 80s were dancing up a storm. J&J and Julian and I just lounged on our blankets until the final three songs when everyone was on their feet and we would not otherwise have been able to see. I still love “Who Can It Be Now” and “Johnny Be Good.”
Sunday we went back for the actual festival stuff. There were animals, including a joey and various other creatures from Kentucky Down Under. A climbing wall and inflatable jumps rounded out the kids corner. There were demos of aboriginal art and the same gentleman from the concert was carving a digeridoo at one of the booths. There were also lots of product booths selling Australian goods, highlighting the Vegemite. And, of course, there were the food vendors, and that’s really what people come here (to foodieporn anyway) to read about.
We apparently missed out on the sweet goodies from the Australian Bakery (from Atlanta) booth. I really wanted to try a Lamington. I read Donna Hay so I’ve seen recipes for them, but I’ve never attempted it, not knowing what I’m striving for. They also had sausage rolls and MEAT PIES! Yay! Meatpies! I know it seems an odd thing a former vegetarian getting all excited about meat pies. But yes, down in my carnivorous little heart there is a soft spot for the savory pie in all its many guises. I think pasties and meat pies being the two that make my eye twinkle the most. Thankfully, the bakery had not run out of meat pies. They were lovely, warm flaky but soft pastry cases filled with seasoned and gravied mince. Mmmm. Makes me want to make some, but considering that I am totally pied out for the time being, not so much today, or this week or probably even next week.
We also sugared up on Australian made Cadbury Crunchies and Malteasers. And why can’t you buy Crunchies here without heading to a specialty shop? They are the best candybars. We also had latte and caramel Tim Tams. Lord, I’m glad those aren’t on tap. Latte and a cookie? It’s sugar/caffeine nirvana for the likes of me. Oddly the thing I liked best was the Tasmanian Rain bottled water. It came in beautiful clear glass bottles shaped like a Reisling wine bottle without the punt. I drank one big and one small one and would have happily had another if they hadn’t been ridiculously overpriced. $5 for a 32 oz. bottle. It was hot so I paid it, but $5? Really. I wanted to keep one of the bottles but it broke in my purse on the way home. Meaning that I taught my class on cooking with citrus tonight with a glass sliver induced boo boo under my fingernail. And, yes, lemon, lime and orange juice hurt like a dammit when they get into a puncture wound under your fingernail. Youch.
On a final note, we cruised by the Australian Embassy booth where they were recruiting for peeps to move their careers to the Southern Hemisphere. Chefs are apparently on the priority list… I hear Australia’s nice.