Every year, a Melbourne gourmet catering company, EPICURE, creates a gingerbread version of Melbourne. Entry is by gold coin donation ($1 or $2 coins are gold) and the proceeds go to a different charity each year. This year it was the Royal Children’s Hospital, which featured in the display. The village is set up in the Town Hall.
The first scene is the Melbourne Star, a London-Eye-wannabe observation wheel built of couple years ago and some of Docklands, the neighborhood where it is located. Shops, restaurants, and an ice rink feature for Docklands.
Next up, is the Melbourne Zoo which has all kinds of cute tiny animals made from fondant including kangaroos (with joeys), koalas, pandas, penguins, etc. The buildings are exact recreations and the little people are enjoying themselves there as much as we did.
In March, the Grand Prix comes to Melbourne. The racetrack goes around Albert Park Lake, about a 5 km track. It was kind of strange that they adapted Melbourne to be a traditional gingerbread village with lots of snow covering the ground. As far as I know, Albert Park has never seen snow.
St. Kilda is a huge attraction outside the downtown city. It’s one of the oldest suburbs of Melbourne and it’s beach is super wide and very popular as well as its pier and marina. Luna Park, opened in 1912, has the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world, the Great Scenic Railway, and the facade of an open clown’s mouth is an icon.
Every year in November, the Melbourne Cup is hosted at Flemington Racecourse. Here, the horses are shown in training on the course as people lounge on the infield. There are lines at all of the betting booths, as betting is a favourite pastime here. Flemington is also famous for its gorgeous roses, whose bloom coincides with the Spring Racing Carnival.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the 10th largest sports stadium in the world, with 100,000 + seats. It hosts cricket matches, footy games, concerts, etc. It’s all in the details: at the merchandise stand, everything is in the colors of the two teams in the Grand Final this year, the kebabs stand is full of miniature kebabs, and the footy players are in an actual playing formation.
Since the gingerbread village was being presented in the Town Hall, it made sense for it to feature. Now mainly an event space, the Town Hall was the historic centre of the city. Right next door to Town Hall, during the Christmas season, is the Melbourne Christmas Square with the city tree, lots of decorations, a nativity, and, of course, pictures with Santa.
Arts Centre Melbourne is an visual icon of Melbourne. The spired building hosts concerts, recitals, and other artistic performances. Also, it hosts a market every Sunday with a variety of local/handmade wares.
The Royal Children’s Hospital got a large display as the proceeds for the village are being donated there this year. Out front of the fun, colorful facade, the Australian and Aboriginal flags fly, as they do outside many public buildings. Inside, the sculptures in the lobby are scaled to size, consultations are taking place, and even the recently added meerkat exhibit is on display.