Festival an Easter gift that's better than chocolate
STREETS and Lanes Festival is an Easter gift to Toowoomba from local churches.
But, according to festival organiser Dave Schenk, it's not one of those gifts you get from Aunty Ethel - the handknitted scarf of clashing colours that you would never wear in a pink fit.
This is a gift that potentially everyone of all ages will love, embracing the whole Toowoomba community in a family-friendly day of fantastic food, music and fun.
"I think it's great to see the churches really engaging with their community, not just waiting for people to come to them," Dave said.
"Streets and Lanes celebrates the message of Easter, which is a celebration of life, but in a way that people can engage with, whether they've previously been involved in the Christian story or not."
This is not, Dave emphasised, a replacement for Easter Fest, the three-day festival which, like many more mainstream festivals around the country, had its last hurrah in 2015 due to financial constraints.
The appeal of Streets and Lanes is much broader than its predecessor.
Music includes jazz from Brisbane band Scat and the country sounds of the Walmsley Brothers in Civic Square, alongside markets, food and kids' activities.
Caleb Hart, from Canadian reggae band Tasman Jude, will introduce Island Soul to Little Eat Street in Art Gallery Park, which will be awash with food trucks of every nationality.
And that's quite apart from the horde of entertainers and buskers playing all day throughout the CBD and in cafes and restaurants.
Downstream Tourist Railway and Museum is not only getting in on Saturday's action with live music on the baby grand, a sausage sizzle and tours of the carriages, but powering the festival's charge into Sunday.
"Our primary focus at the moment is on the CBD and the festival on Saturday, but the invitation is there for any organisation to do something over the Easter weekend.
"Hopefully more will catch on and the festival will one day stretch across the entire weekend," Dave said.
A 45-minute non-denominational service in Civic Square at 5.30pm gives the churches a chance to more formally mark Easter, with festival events then continuing until about 9pm.
"There were thousands of people in and around Toowoomba last year and there was a great vibe in the city, and that's what we're hoping to capture again, that celebration of our community," Dave said.
Streets and Lanes is on Saturday, April 15.
For the full program and times go to www.streetslanes.com.au.