Monday, April 12, 2010

Break out your Men at Work albums, Mates!

Promises are made to be kept, aren’t they?


Well, I’ve been promising a big, huge, giant, epic tribute to Australian and New Zealand ventriloquists now of quite a while. The Aussies are my second most frequent visitors (trailing only Poland), and in true Aussie fashion have been very patient. New Zealand hasn’t just hit and run either, coming back a few times as well.


(My post  Blog Oleo on March 11 when i told the Aussie/Kiwi ventriloquist joke doesn’t count. I was, well, Blog Oleo.)


My challenge is that I want to do it justice. There’s a lot of ventriloquist action down under (and no doubt that is no surprise!). And, since the Budding Ventriloquist Winter Olympic Coverage ™ has ended, I’ve been discussing the overall entertainment scene of visiting countries.


For Australia, this is a big job. And New Zealand has more to offer than facial tattoos, ya know.


The solution is simple:
Ventriloquists Down Under Week
Sponsored by Budding Ventriloquist


You heard it. Gets your heart racing, doesn’t it?

 
Didn’t your body tingle like when you use mint soap? Didn’t you get weak in the knee? Didn’t you start to quiver with delight?

 
Ventriloquists Down Under Week will start on Monday, August 2. There is now a countdown counter in the sidebar that you can check 24/7.

 
Why August 2? Because in the Northern Territory of Australia, August 2 is Picnic Day, the public holiday every year on the first Monday of August. According to one source, Picnic Day was originally declared a public holiday so railway employees could go to Adelaide River to enjoy a picnic. However, another story tells that it stemmed from a race meeting on November 27, 1947, that grew into what is now known as the Harts Range annual races. The meeting, which included riding, a barbecue and a dance, was such a big success that it became an annual event.

 

The Harts Range annual races are held in the Harts Ranges about 215km (about 133.6 miles) northeast of Alice Springs. Bull rides, a ute (utility truck) competition, children’s novelty events, whip cracking, lizard races, and a rural ball are part of that party.

 
People also visit the town of Adelaide River to participate in a traditional railway picnic on this day. The town of Adelaide River is about 114 km (about 69.6 miles) south of Darwin. The event’s activities and games include tug-o-war, sack and three-legged races, as well as egg and spoon races. Traditional railway food and refreshments are served on the day.

 
My goal: To do such an amazing job at covering the Down Under ventriloquist scene that right after the bull rides, along with the barbeques (aka, the barbies!), with the fun of the three legged races, that ventriloquism become a full fledged part of the Picnic Day holiday.

 
You have to admit, when I set a goal, I go big. At least the Winter Olympics were in the same hemisphere. But then again, so many people said the Winter Olympics couldn’t be covered from Hudson, Wisconsin either.

Oh yee of little faith.

 
Australia, Australia, Australia, We love you. Amen.

You too, New Zealand.
***
If you look really hard in the 1919 South Wales Rugby Picnic picture (the second one), you can see a ventriloquist.

 
Just keep looking.

 
Yes. Right there.
***
On this adventure, I openly invite all the help I can get. Know who I should highlight? Other cool Aussie stuff to talk about? Send recommendations to bushmandaniel@gmail.com. I'm a very gracious guy - I might even hug ya.

 
Virtually, of course.
***
Once again I'll make a rash promise: If I can't find anything about New Zealand ventriloquists, I'll get a henna tattoo painted on my face like a Maori native as a living tribute.

 

And then do ventriloquism.

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