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The start of spring is now synonymous with one of the best events on the local calendar and this year is no exception – from performance art to beer tasting, and puppetry to street parades there is something for everyone at The Emerge Festival…

What is now billed as the largest cultural and entertainment celebration on Sydney’s North Shore began life as the Willoughby Spring Festival, but was renamed in 2015. The Emerge Festival now plays host to more than 30 events over the course of September, transforming Chatswood’s CBD into a cultural showcase.

Festival organisers are excited at the prospect of the 2017 celebrations. “Each year thousands of people from across Willoughby and the North Shore come together to celebrate the Emerge Festival. It’s all about celebrating our vibrant arts and culture scene, promoting new talent and creative opportunities, and showcasing our local community,” says a Willoughby Council spokesperson. And while the festival is packed with highlights, there are a few that are bound to be crowd favourites:

Street Fair
Saturday September 2, Chatswood CBD, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Kicking off the month-long festivities, Chatswood’s main streets will come alive with roaming performers, a dazzling parade and the aromas of delicious food. It’s known as the North Shore’s biggest and best street party for good reason.

The shopping hub will be unrecognisable as the street parade winds its way through Victoria Avenue from 10:30am. Almost 1,000 performers will march to the beat of drums and brass bands. (Those in the know suggest the best place to get a birds-eye view of the parade is from The Concourse).

The Kidzone Stage on The Concourse is sure to be popular with Willoughby’s youngsters. Children are invited to get messy with dirtgirlworld or enjoy Finding Dory and Moana on The Urban Screen.

Fair Trade Lane on Anderson Street South is the go-to place for beautiful and ethical gifts, and there will be plenty of market stalls offering great food and gifts in Victoria Avenue as well.

Willoughby Craft Beer Fair, Sunday September 10, The Willoughby Hotel, 315 Penshurst Street, 11am – 5pm

The ever-popular Willoughby Craft Beer Fair returns to The Willoughby Hotel on Sunday 10 September. MacMahon Street will turn into a beer lover’s paradise with 14 Australian craft breweries showcasing their finest.

“It is a pleasure hosting this event for the local and wider community, and after a year off we are ready to go with a fresh line-up of both local independent and larger scale breweries onboard,” says Hotel Publican John McGurk.

If beer isn’t your beverage of choice, there will be plenty of great wines available on the day, not to mention food stalls supplying a range of options.

Live entertainment will kick off from 11am on the main stage with two entertainment acts this year, as well as a range of activities for the kids including a petting zoo, miniature pony and an arts and crafts potting station.

This will be the fifth year that The Willoughby Hotel has hosted the event and it promises to be a great day out for all the family.

Willoughby Visual Arts Biennale, September 6 – 24, various locations

This exciting arts festival runs throughout most of the month and includes exhibitions, art installations, large-scale video art, performance art and a number of workshops. The theme this year is “Kaleidoscope”, encouraging audiences to think of the world not as static but in a state of flux.

Wander through Chatswood CBD and you’ll be able to see installations in a number of public spaces. Look out for cutting-edge video installations in The Concourse and pop-up activities such as puppetry and kaleidoscope demonstrations. Coupled with this are a number of gallery events throughout Willoughby City, highlighting the breadth of talent of our local artists.

Events run every day from Friday 1 September to Sunday 1 October. To view the full program, visit www.emergefestival.com.au