Big, hot and loud: Moomba Parade dazzled and danced along the street

The cloud and fog gave way to a stunningly warm, sunny day.

Scented gums lined serene, winding Birdwood Avenue, off St Kilda Road, the site of the 2022 Moomba Parade. There were gumnuts underfoot.

The Moomba Parade makes its way along Birdwood Avenue on Monday. Credit:Joe Armao

But once it got going, the parade on Monday, the first since 2020, was a riot of noise. And that was just the marchers.

They played cymbals, drums, saxophones and bagpipes. Dancers moved non-stop to rock, techno, pop and folk music blaring from speakers.

Visually, the theme was loud and colourful, too. There were floats with giant popcorn pieces and books. People wore super-sized seagull, lyrebird, puppy, koala and even spider outfits.

The Indonesian contingent dazzled in multi-coloured winged costumes, masks, and beautiful robes.

The Indonesian costumes were dazzling. Credit:Joe Armao

The Dai Loong Chinese dragon shimmered, and lion dancers stopped to perform for Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

The biggest reaction from the crowd — claps, cheers and shouts of encouragement — was for the Lehenda Ukrainian Dance Company, who were smiling and step-perfect despite the shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and their worry for loved ones.

Artistic director Melanie Moravski Dechnicz was so moved that tears streamed down her face.

“I feel very emotional, but so supported,” Ms Moravaki Dechnicz said. “It’s amazing to know that all these people are behind us, behind our country, behind our people.

“That’s an incredible feeling.”

The Moomba Parade was an emotional experience for Lehenda Ukrainian Dance Company.Credit:Joe Armao

In the Children’s Cancer Foundation group, Diana Politis was happy to see her daughter Charlise Politis, 10, riding a scooter with her friend Luna Phillips, 5.

The girls grew close while being treated for leukemia at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Ms Politis said Charlise has spent 150 days in hospital in the past eight months and it was “the most amazing thing” for her be out and about in the community.

Crowds enjoy Melbourne’s Moomba Parade.Credit:Joe Armao

Wurundjeri man Daniel Ross, 36, brought his children Rylan, 7, Freya, 5, and Jarralee, 3, to be among the Indigenous group, the Wurundjeri-Woiwurring Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Corporation, that did a smoking ceremony and led the parade.

Mr Ross said taking part expressed pride in his culture and fought misinformation that indigenous people don’t live in Melbourne.

Capping the parade were Moomba monarchs, Nine newsreader Peter Hitchener and Fox FM radio presenter, Fifi Box, waving from a castle float with court jesters – members of The Dance Room dance school.

Ms Box’s older daughter Trixie, 8, was stoked to get to be princess for a day, wearing a pretty dress and waving to the crowd.

Moomba Monarchs Fifi Box and Peter Hitchener we ready to have a good time. Credit:Joe Armao

Ms Box, dressed in a vibrant orange, pink and red neoprene and tulle princess gown — albeit with sneakers on her feet for comfort was rather happy herself.

She said her was “all my Disney dreams come to fruition”.

Mr Hitchener said the crowds flocking to Moomba this year “shows we’re ready to have a good time”.

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