Eats, Beats and Art: Six Moments You Won't Want to Miss at This Year's Parramatta Lanes
From desserts and dance performances, to dramatic opera-inspired bubble blowers, here are the don't-wanna-miss moments at this year's Parramatta Lanes festival.
September 27, 2022
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Parramatta continues to make a solid case for its status as one of Sydney's most exciting emerging CBDs. And the latest incarnation of its annual Parramatta Lanes festival proves precisely why it's worth making the trek to one of Western Sydney's most vibrant precincts.
Here are our picks of the eats, beats and art you absolutely should not miss when the popular (and free!) four-day street party returns for its 10-year anniversary from Wednesday, October 12 until Saturday, October 15.
The main thoroughfares of Parramatta are already packed with a plethora of eateries that reflect its commitment to embracing emerging Australian hospitality venues — think Ruse Bar and Brasserie, pan-Asian Lilymu and Ciccia Bella by Icebergs' Maurice Terzini in Parramatta Square.
Parramatta Lanes festival will see many of them spill out onto the streets, and it's only appropriate that we're spotlighting one of the pioneers that brought urban-cred to the suburbs: Butter Sydney.
Born in Surry Hills before branching out to its second outpost on Marsden Street in Parramatta, the iconic sneaker, champagne and fried chicken store is known for its shoestring fries and hip hop vibes. With a reputation for creating exclusive menu items unique to each of its locations (like the hot charcoal chicken roll with ramen gravy and mayo for its Parra store), we can only lick our lips in anticipation while we wait to see what they have lined up for their Parramatta Lanes pop-up.
Foodies with a sweet tooth will be spoilt for choice with a delicious selection of dessert pop-ups among the 30+ food stalls that will appear at Parramatta Lanes. As well as a number of local vendors hawking traditional sweet stuff that reflects the suburb's multicultural roots (pro tip: don't miss the Dutch waffles at Stroop Bros), a selection of sophisticated desserts by KOI will be on offer.
With Masterchef alumni and Australian dessert royalty Reynold Poernomo's signature treats including Strawberry Lychee, Mango Yuzu and Nomtella Celebration cakes, you're sure to find something to satisfy your cravings for a sugar fix. And of course, indulging in a treat at Parramatta Lanes allows you to take a pretty Insta pic by the Parramatta River as you tuck in.
Parramatta is one of the most multicultural metros in Sydney, with 45% of its residents born overseas and collectively speaking 140 languages. If you're keen to see it in practice but not confident enough to start a conversation in Arabic/Tamil/Mandarin, then it's time to talk in a language that everyone understands and catch one of the many local cultural performances timetabled for Lanes.
Among the acts on show you'll find First Nations rappers, a colourful Indian dance troupe, and Korean karaoke blasting from a stage set up at 23 George Street in — complete with disco ball. Pair it with a snack from one of the event's many ethnic food stalls and you'll really get an insight into the magical multilingual make-up of Parramatta.
With several prolific performers and personalities calling Parramatta home (Rebel Wilson ring a bell?), it's not surprising that Lanes serves as a springboard for aspiring entertainers.
Among the local artists and bands you can catch are Mike Champion, 1800-Mikey, Hamza, Qosmea, Scruff Live, Beat Kitchen Records, Clarissa Mei and Nicole Issa. Cast the net a little wider, and you can enjoy performances by two-piece noise band Party Dozen, Italian-Nigerian singer Liyah Knight, triple j-unearthed Doja-Cat-inspired Mung Mung, and Melbourne's CD.
Only got time to squeeze in one show? Don't miss Boy Soda — aka Brae Luafalealo — performing his signature modern electronic RnB and hip hop. He's already signed with Warner, so take the opportunity to get up close and personal with the kid from the Central Coast before he really blows up — and remind everyone that you heard him here first.
FANTASTIC PLANET BY PARER STUDIO
Parramatta Lanes truly comes to life after dark, making a post-sunset stroll the perfect opportunity to enjoy illuminated art installations, Fantastic Planet by Parer Studio.
A perfect embodiment of Parramatta's vision to establish itself as a global city, these luminously lit humanoid figures will entice passersby with their sci-fi-inspired super-scale presence and encourage guests to explore the lanes where they have been strategically placed in the process. Find your favourite at locations including Parramatta Square, St John's Lawn, Centenary Square, Erby Place carpark, and Lennox Bridge — or snap all five for the full experience.
According to artist Amanda Parer, her goal is to "allow the audience to hopefully experience a moment of humility and reflection amongst these large but peaceful giants, a sense that we as a species rarely get to feel."
BUBBLE THERAPY BY HOSSEI
Between trying to decide which food stall to feast at and losing yourself in one of the previously mentioned live performances, you'd be forgiven for running out of time to discover everything that Parramatta Lanes has to offer. The struggle is real, but fortunately so is the solution, with many of the interactive performances on offer at the festival designed to come directly to you.
One of the most perennially popular (with kids little and big alike) is Bubble Therapy by Hossei. The creation of Australian/Persian/Turkish/Russian artist Hossei, Bubble Therapy performers draw on themes of theatre, surrealism and mysticism to present operatic artists roaming Parramatta Lanes blowing bubbles out of their costumes — and blowing your mind with their skills.
Parramatta Lanes is on from Wednesday, October 12 till Saturday, October 15. For more information and to plan your visit, head to the website.
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