March is a very big month in Canberra: the start of the best season of the year in the nation's capital (Autumn), the launch of our favourite Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, the staging of Enlighten (see Canberra in a whole new light) and the Canberra Day long weekend - this year celebrating 100 years since the official naming of Canberra as the nation's capital.
We braved the crowds at Enlighten last Thursday night after the screening of La Vie d'Une Autre at the groovy new Palace Theatre and coffee afterwards at Mocan and Green Grout.
There were lots of gasps of approval from the crowds of onlookers with each change of lighting effects on the National Library (celebrating books - duh!)....
and on Questacon (all things biological and scientific)...
and on old Parliament House (now the Museum of Australian Democracy) - looking only slightly more cartoonish than when it was the seat of government (prior to 1988).
The National Portrait Gallery was lit up like a festive bauble.
and the National Gallery of Australia took every chance to promote its current big Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition.
Another scene at the National Portrait Gallery............
Sunday was one very big day in Canberra - the big party day, staged around Walter and Marion's lake, celebrating Canberra's 100th birthday. They estimate there were around 150,000 people enjoying a perfect Canberra day and all the activities planned (mainly for families) around both sides of the lake.
The theme of the celebration was Canberra in so many words - quite apt really as the whole of Canberra revolves around the spoken and written word.
But quite simply, w-e-l-c-o-m-e is probably the best word of all - especially considering Canberra is largely a town of immigrants.
We thought most of one very big day was geared for young families (with the exception of the longest bubbly bar in the world, stretched out along the southern side of the lake front). Sitting in the shade of a willow tree across from the Carillon on Aspen Island, listening to an Irish band, was a highlight for us.
On the whole Canberrans have been enthusiastic about the celebrations and there would be very few of us who haven't taken some time to reflect on what makes the place special to us. It's just as well we have because the rest of Australia seems to have an ambiguous relationship with the place. Happy centenary birthday Canberra!