Santa Claus to run through Sydney

Santa Claus to run through Sydney

Santa Claus to run through Sydney in City2Surf

New year, new race… or at least that is the philosophy for many of those who are taking part in the 43rd year of City2Surf. It's not a surfing event like its name hints, but a running race… on the beach- which sparks some Baywatch flashbacks.

In the heart of the cosmopolitan city of Sydney, the emotion is starting to build up in anticipation of City2Surf. The long-distance running event -that takes place this year on August 11th- will make contestants run, run and run for 14 kilometres from Sydney CBC to Bondi Beach.

Even though Sun-Herald City2Surf presented by Westpac falls short from being a marathon - with an official distance of 42.195 Km-, it is the largest timed running race in the world. With 85,000 registered participants in 2012, City2Surf has more competitors than the London and New York Marathons combined.

In consonance with the city's vibrant yet bohemian lifestyle, contenders mix their competitive spirit with their sense of humour. Thus, it is not rare to spot Santa Claus and Michael Jackson running around Sydney. No, Australians don't celebrate Christmas on August nor do they have a Dragon ball or a time machine; it's just that to add some fun to the event, runners wear crazy costumes and celebrity look-a-likes.

But not everything is about sports and fun in City2Surf. Actually, there is a Gold Charity entry –now available- which allows participants to choose from a list of high profile Australian charities, to run and raise funds.

Since its beginnings the event has been owned and organised by The Sun-Herald (formerly The Sun), a Fairfax Media publication. Accordingly, inspiration came through a note from Fairfax's US correspondent, who sent a newspaper clipping in 1970 about San Francisco Bay to Breakers event to the editor of The Sun newspaper, Jack Tier.

And so The Sun City2Surf was born on September 5th, 1971. Subsequently, it became acknowledged as Australia's premier road race. Since 1973, it has been celebrated on the second Sunday in August, except for the race held in 2000, when it was moved to July when the Sydney Olympics took place in August.

Fireworks Australia Day

Fireworks Australia Day

Fireworks will light up the sky on Australia Day

Australia Day is the official national day of the country, which takes place every 26 January. The day sparks community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies in cities and large and small communities across Australia. Under a colourful sky decorated by fireworks, Australians enjoy community barbecues with family or friends. There are also sports competitions and other type of festive activities.

Sydney's harbor is a focus and races are held, such as a ferry race and the tall ships race. To salute the multiple races and culture –as it is a nation of immigrations- that compose Australian population, Melbourne's events focus on multiculturalism, featuring the People's March and the Voyages Concert.

The celebration takes place every year on 26 January in remembrance of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia, which was known as New Holland back then.

It took a century for the that date to become officially named Australia Day, yet records of celebrations on January 26th started back in 1808, with the first formal celebration of the formation of New South Wales in 1818.

Nowadays, Australia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Honours List for the Order of Australia and formal speeches from the Governor-General and Prime Minister.

The Rocks Aroma Festival

The Rocks Aroma Festival

The Rocks Aroma Festival

Sip on something sweet in The Rocks Aroma Festival, a heavenly event conceived to delight the taste buds. Experience coffee, chocolate, tea, spice, food and sweets from the four themed global regions: The Oasis, The Orient, The Continent and The Latin.

During the 1800s, the Rocks was a centre for merchants delivering exotic spices, coffee, tea and chocolates to the world. Today, The Aroma Festival commemorates that historical fact and brings to locals that same kind of goods from all around the world.

The flavours of the world come together in Aroma where each region has its own food stalls and entertainment program.

Last year, the Oasis region was the most interesting with its belly dancers, coffee cup readings and the return of camel rides along Sydney Harbour. We only need to wait till July to verify if this region keeps its place at the top or if another region surprises us.

For those interested in the arts of expression, belly dancers are not the only option. Salsa and Samba heat up Sydney in the Latin region.

Being faithful to the Aroma Festival's original conception, there was a section devoted only to coffee. Fingers crossed, this year will continue the tradition.

As the aroma of the coffee fills the air, the visitor can enjoy some traditional baklava, Spanish churros, chocolate-dipped strawberries, cupcakes or chai latte. Entrance is free and coffee costs $2 per cup, a reasonable price given that the coffee is from some of the world's best roasters.

The hot drinks and delicious treats are ideal to warm up those cold days of winter in Sydney.