What 4.5 million people are looking forward to this coming Moomba

TIME 28 February 1977 

It takes a good deal of variety, plenty of surprises and lots of excitement to satisfy an aggregate audience of around 4.5 million people. (Part of this Moomba festivity was filmed for ABBA-The Movie such as the Disney characters on the mardi grass parade.)

All of which about sums up the 1977 Moomba program of events.

On the pop scene, Moomba starts with superstars ABBA at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Jazz fans get Dizzy Gillespie at the Dallas Brooks Hall and opera lovers will be treated to Offenbach’s “La Belle Helene” at the Princess Theatre.

[Sam’s comment: During Moomba, a big crowd saw ABBA appearing on the Town Hall balcony where ABBA received a civic reception. As soon as ABBA arrived they went out on to the Town Hall balcony. ABBA spent about five minutes waving to the crowd.]

There’s the serious business of man-powered flight in the Channel 0 Birdman Rally on the Yarra. With $10,000 prize money it’s sure to be a splash. Also making waves there’s the famous Bathtub Derby.

And still on the river, the Moomba Masters Water Ski Championships by day and the spectacular Water Ski Revue by night. In between you’ll see the C.U.B. Showboat chug-chugging along with a huge line up of music and dancing.

On the streets kick up your heels at the Mardi Gras. Catch the street entertainment from Moomba’s Buskers. Or snap up a good position for the Street Parade. This year’s theme, the world of Walt Disney 

In the gardens take your pick. Join the Ride for Life on your bicycle. Get your legs going in the Coca Cola Fun Run. Rise to great heights in the Cathay Pacific Hot Air Balloon. Step into the Magic Garden. Weave your way into the Craft Happening, check out the Chess or ponder the paintings in the Herald Outdoor Art Show.

On stage there’s the Moomba Festival of Theatre; ten days ten plays. Youth music in the Great Hall of the National Gallery. Youth Drama in the Civic Square.

At the Town Hall waltz along to an evening with Johann Strauss or munch your lunch to the best of the free lunchtime Moomba Mini Music Festival.

To keep the fun going King Mickey Mouse of Moomba will be there. So will Court Jester Ugly Dave Gray.

There’ll be carnivals, sporting events, exhibitions and displays like the huge Yarra-side fireworks spectacle on opening and closing nights. Need we say that Moomba is bigger and better this year? Come along and join the fun.

For full program information see the Official Moomba Program or check the daily press.

© 1977 TIME. Thanks to Samuel Inglles