Charlie and Lola

For those who weren’t lucky enough to score a seat at the ‘G’ on Saturday, the Foxtel Footy Festival is a great way to soak up the finals atmosphere and enjoy the brilliant October weather. We made our way to Yarra Park on Thursday morning and our two girls (ages 5 & 8) found plenty to keep them entertained at this free family festival.

Our first stop was the CBeebies (BBC TV for Kids) marquee where they were quick to select and apply temporary tattoos featuring Charlie and Lola, Hey Duggee and Sarah & Duck. After taking some happy snaps at the Charlie and Lola peepo they settled down at the Hey Duggee arts and crafts area to do some colouring and activity sheets. The marquee featured a light-up dancefloor and out the front dancers were strutting their stuff to YMCA. A life-size Duggee, the loveable dog from the TV series, was prowling around greeting visitors and the kids were given CBeebies helium balloons.

Live site

While the kids were busy, Dad wandered around and scored himself a crockery footy breakfast bowl from the Weet-Bix Kick Zone and a free AFL Record from Foxtel HQ (for Foxtel customers only). During the festival, Foxtel HQ is the place to see some of your favourite celebrities including The Real Housewives of Melbourne, Pawn Stars Australia, Wentworth, Australia’s Next Top Model, Matt Moran and more.

After checking out all the slime-covered boys emerging from the Nickelodeon Slime Lab (snot and toenail clippings were rumoured to be ingredients in this green slime recipe), the girls gave the lab a wide berth and headed straight for the AFL Women’s Style Lounge. This chilled marquee caters to the female AFL fan and offers manicures, massages, hair colouring and a chocolate or two. Women can check out the new AFL women’s apparel ranges and get the chance to be styled by an expert.

Chalk in hair

While we waited in a line of young girls to have hair chalk applied, we had a good view of one of the big drawcards of the day – the Toyota footy foam pit. A long line of kids were eagerly awaiting their chance to leap out over the foam pit in an attempt to mark a footy which was dangling tantalisingly just out of reach. The Women’s Style Lounge was also a great vantage point to see the NAB AFL Auskick clinics and the FOX FOOTY Stage, which is broadcasting live throughout the festival with AFL 360, League Teams, Bounce and full coverage on Grand Final Day. We spotted a Hawk and an Eagle scampering through the crowd as all the office workers came out for lunch.

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Once their hair was rainbow coloured – no footy colours for these two – we made our way to the Disney Channel’s Family Zone for a few turns on the Lightening McQueen inflatable slide and to check out the Mack truck.

We couldn’t go home without stopping at the Disney Frozen tent! There was a rink set up and, once we had secured some ice skates, the girls took to the artificial ice for some skating. Miss 8 enjoyed the experience having been rollerblading a couple of times but Miss 5 thought it was rather weird. She was far happier hanging out with the cardboard Elsa and Anna on the sidelines.

Inflatable slide

There is plenty more happening on Friday and Saturday at the Foxtel Footy Festival.

The 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final Live Site will be open on Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 9am to 6pm with the Grand Final broadcast live on the big screens on Saturday.

The 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final Parade, supported by City of Melbourne, will leave from the Old Treasury Building on Spring Street at 12pm and conclude at the Live Site stage in Yarra Park at 1pm.

Celebrity chef Shannon Bennett is curating LifeStyle Taste of Football presented by The LifeStyle Channel. His friends from iconic Melbourne restaurants and cafes will be on site selling signature dishes to the public. Enjoy drinks at Wolf Blass “The Nest” and Strongbow bars on Friday (10am-9pm) and Saturday (9am-6pm).

The Music Festival will feature Channel [V]’s Big Mix on Friday at 5pm and an exclusive set from Channel [V]’s DJ Generik from 8pm to 9pm.

Presto Movies at the MCG will show The Incredibles on Friday (5pm-7pm) and Tropfest Short Films (7pm-9pm).

Details: afl.com.au/finals/footy-festival

Entertainers

SUMMARY
When: Wednesday 30 September to Saturday 3 October 2015
Where: Yarra Park, outside Gate 3 of the MCG, Melbourne
Cost: Free
Target Audience: The Foxtel Footy Festival has plenty for kids, teenagers and adults.
Food and Beverages: There are food vans dotted around the festival and lining the forecourt of the MCG. They sell a variety of foods such as burritos, tacos, pizza, chips, crepes and coffee. Prices were fairly standard for such an event. We packed fruit and muffins for the kids to eat throughout the day. We then just bought a few buckets of chips and sat on the grass to enjoy the sun.
Amenities: Toilets and/or signage for toilets was not very visible.
Hot Tip: Wear sunscreen and bring socks for the skates!