Mascot makes a stop Down Under

Just as spring has sprung in the Okanagan, Fat Cat is heading into the fall season for “the Land Down Under”—Australia.

Fat Cat has already been learning all the local lingo and sends a hearty ‘G’Day Mate’ to all his fans following him and PT the Clown on their “Where in the World is Fat Cat?” tour.

Follow their online journey at www.facebook.ca/fatcatfestival and you can enter to win two tickets anywhere WestJet flies.

For this section of his travel adventures, Fat Cat brings news from Australia, a country (and continent) he has been wanting to discover ever since the 2000 Olympics.

Known for its beaches (there are over 10,000 of them, more than any other country) and famous for its surf culture, Australia has given the world many iconic landmarks and unique images and brands, including the famous, and infamous, UGG boots, Crocodile Dundee and shrimps on the barbie.

But contemporary Australia is also a land of innovation.  Did you know that the cochlear implant and Google Maps were invented by Australians?

For his travel adventures, Fat Cat’s first stop is to explore the Sydney Opera House, the iconic image of Sydney.

This stunning building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007, which is truly amazing since the building was only officially opened in 1973.

A young Dane architect, Jorn Utzon, won an international competition to design the facility in 1957.

The intricate design was an engineering feat and the famous shells of the opera house took eight years to complete, plus an additional three years to finish the special ceramic tiles that form the shells.

Recognized as a world-class performing arts centre, the Sydney Opera House glistens in the sunlight and is stunningly aglow at night.

A definite must-see for visitors to Australia, but if you want a glimpse of this amazing place, check out the YouTube Symphony Grand Finale 2011. It features 110 artists from throughout the world and a multi-media sensation with a real-time projections on the walls of the concert hall and the exterior of the sails.

Check out the concert here: www.youtube.com/symphony.

Equally as famous an Australian landmark is Uluru, the massive sandstone monolith formerly known as Ayers Rock.  Standing 986 feet-high and over eight kilometres around, the rock is a natural wonder of the world,  returned to the Aboriginal people of the area in 1985. It remains an important part of the Aboriginal creation mythology.

Uluru is in Australia’s Northern Territory where the indigenous people have been using the famous didgeridoo for at least 1,500 years.

Australia’s uniqueness extends to its wildlife with the emblematic kangaroo, the koala (which is not really a bear), the Tasmanian devil (the world’s largest marsupial), the bizarre platypus (with its beaver tail, duck bill and the males are actually venomous) and the flightless emu.

Fat Cat is definitely enjoying his exploration of Australia—be sure to join him and PT the Clown as they discover more about this unique place.

***

The Interior Savings Fat Cat Children’s Festival is an annual event that offers performances, arts, workshops and activities for kids of all ages.  The  Capital News is a proud founding sponsor, actively part of the festival for the past 21 years.

Festival organizers invite everyone to mark the end of Fat Cat’s Global Journey when the festival takes place Waterfront Park, June 10 and 11.

And if you can’t make it to the Sydney Opera House right away, you will be able to enjoy opera at the festival courtesy of the Roaming Diva, a giant, stilt-walking, opera-singing performer coming all the way from Montreal to bring her unique performance to Kelowna for the Fat Cat Festival.

For more information on the festival and full contest details, check out www.fatcatfestival.ca.

Dorothee Birker is a Capital News contributor.

 

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