A spectacular laser show over the water that unites Albury and Wodonga has embodied the special partnership between the two cities as we celebrated a landmark event for our vibrant arts and entertainment sector.
The explosion of laser colour that was beamed across the Murray River to the Noreuil Park foreshore on Friday night was enjoyed by thousands of people as a headline event for our inaugural Upstream Festival of Art and Culture.
Run under the Two Cities One Community banner from Friday to Monday, Upstream was a celebration of colour and creativity that brought the community together and shone a light on the outstanding talent that makes our cities so special.
The highlights also included a Messy Arty Party at Wodonga’s Sumsion Gardens where visitors were encouraged to dress not for success but to ‘make a mess’, a Dogs Breakfast for pooches and their humans at Albury’s QEII Square, an Upstream Street Party at Junction Square and Elgin Boulevard in Wodonga, and a Sunday of Curious Things at Noreuil Park, plus a master class with Hairy Maclary author/artist, Dame Lynley Dodd at our LibraryMuseum.
These were just some of the family-friendly events that attracted an estimated 15,000 people over the four days of the festival, showing that once again we can achieve even greater things by harnessing the creative powers of our two cities that make up one great community.
Special thanks and congratulations should go to everyone involved, in particular our amazing Events team, contractors, artists, event partners and volunteers who made it all come together seamlessly.
Developing Upstream as a cross-border festival for the entire community to enjoy was one of the key targets set when we launched Two Cities One Community with our neighbours in Wodonga, but there’s so much more to come from this unique partnership.
Making the most of our strategically important position between major capitals, Two Cities One Community also aims to maximise our region’s enormous economic potential through business growth and technological improvements, built around the fantastic lifestyle benefits offered by the border cities.
Combined, Albury Wodonga is the 20th largest city in Australia with the population expected to grow by more than 32 per cent by 2036. This will bring the number of people living in Albury Wodonga to about 130,000 – a powerful economic and social bloc that will ensure we continue to be a key player in the national economy.
By understanding that we’re stronger together, the two councils are working side-by-side to deliver important strategies that will underpin that economic and social growth into the future.
Among these plans is our Smart Community Framework – a blueprint for the implementation of smart services across both cities. These services, which could include satellite-directed parking information or street lights that switch on when you walk by – are just some examples of what we might achieve to ensure our community is at the crest of the technology wave of the not-too-distant future.
We’ve also developed a regional economic development strategy and continue to work together on important shared initiatives such as Halve Waste and Visit Albury Wodonga.
So while the success of Upstream is a great headline event to literally put Two Cities One Community up in lights, work continues to build the policies and frameworks that will ensure our community grows and prospers.
As always, this growth will be driven by our community and we thank everyone who’s joined the efforts to build our future so far, and we look forward to even more exciting developments and events to come as our very unique cross-border partnership continues to thrive.