Alice Springs double bill of festivals kicks off with fabALICE

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Northern Territory drag queens Daniel Cunningham (Marzi Panne) and Ben Graetz (Miss Ellaneous) celebrate the opening of the fabALICE festival.

Alice Springs is set to welcome two festivals in a row with light festival Parrtjima returning for its ninth iteration from April 12-21 with some new and expanded installations.

An expanded Ranges Light Show will feature additional projection space, while Grounded, which projects animated Indigenous art onto the red sand of the region accompanied by a soundscape, will be more interactive this syear.

New installations include Arrernte, a series of illuminated cars which celebrate a collage of work across Eastern, Western and Central language groups, and Honouring, an immersive passageway which will pay homage to Arrernte leader Dr MK Turner.

New to Parrtjima this year is a 6m high puppet named Arelhe Urrperle, which will wander through Alice Springs Desert Park, sharing language and stories.

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Erth puppet Arelhe Urrperle will be at Parrtjima. Photo: Steven Woodburn

For the first time, Parrtjima will also host a three-night marketplace, showcasing food and products from local Aboriginal businesses.

NTMEC CEO Suzana Bishop said Parrtjima puts Alice Springs on the events map.

“The light installations which use the latest technology, the program which provides room for truth-telling and healing between Aboriginal Australians and the wider community, and the landscape where it takes place – all this adds up to a magical experience in the desert,” she said.

“We value working closely with people from local Aboriginal communities to help them use Parrtjima as a vehicle to tell their stories.”

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The Northern Territory Major Events Company is also supporting the fabALICE Festival which is returning to Alice Springs next week.

This year’s fabALICE will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the widely acclaimed film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

“fabALICE is a great example of an event that combines the uniqueness of the Territory with an iconic theme,” said Bishop.

”Organisers have worked closely with NTMEC to find creative ways to enhance and grow the event, generating more impact for the destination.”