St Ives Family Festival

24 January 2018

St Ives Family Festival

A jam-packed family fête was held on the grounds of St Ives Prep on Saturday 9 September, as Headmaster Ian Stephens reports.

This was far more than just a primary school fête – it was an extraordinary event that brought our community together on a grand scale and enabled us to celebrate in a way I have never seen before.

The amount of work by an army of parents to create such a magical experience for all of us was astonishing, and the nine months of planning, building and organising was certainly worth it. We were very fortunate indeed to enjoy the occasion under beautiful spring skies.

It was also significant to have all parts of wider Grammar community represented via the musical ensembles. Their performances were enjoyed throughout the day by families nestled together on the hill behind Cowper Field. The St Ives Prep and Edgecliff Prep Orchestras performed together following their recent tour to Singapore, conducted by Mr Nick Parry and Mr Alasdair Vickers. The St Ives Taiko groups conducted by Mr Graham Hilgendorf performed, as well as the Alastair Mackerras Chamber Orchestra from College Street, also conducted by Mr Parry. The St Ives Prep Community Choir led by Grammar parents and members of staff Mr Greg Platt and Ms Jacqui Fane, and accompanied by Ms Amanda Miller, brought St Ives boys and their families together in song.

Old Sydneian ensemble Dr V’s Swing Thing played into the evening, concluding the event in spectacular fashion, as they accompanied an impressive fireworks display – a rare first for Jazz Coordinator Vlad Khusid. There was much excitement with many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from parents and children alike, while waving their neon glow sticks. Thousands upon thousands of fairy lights illuminating the trees around Cowper Field completed the picture.

Boys and girls were spoiled for choice when it came to carnival rides and sideshow amusements, including giant slippery slides, rock-climbing walls, bungie trampolines and gladiator duels, to name just a few. More traditional attractions such as slot car racing, show bags and a photo booth were on offer. Younger children delighted in having their faces painted, nursing the baby farm animals, planting seedlings, playing with Lego, riding in giant tea cups and bouncing in the jumping castle.

The Gordon Fire Brigade also stopped by to demonstrate their firefighting equipment and to chat to families over some afternoon tea. Parents enjoyed their time socialising, browsing together for second- hand books, and shopping for artisanal and organic produce, homemade sweets as well as arts and crafts at the market. Food stalls and trucks kept everyone well-nourished with endless mouth-watering choices. And it would not have been a fête without fairy floss, ice cream and ice slushies. The Smoothie Bikes were also a hit and there was even a pop-up café managed by a local barista and a Brokenwood wine bar.

Thank you to the St Ives Prep Parents’ Association for having the vision and commitment to create such a wonderful experience for all of us to enjoy together. I would also like to thank the rest of the St Ives community for supporting this venture and helping raise funds for the outdoor education amphitheatre, which our current and future Prep boys will greatly appreciate.