Botanic garden to hold Tropfest cult event

Aside from packing out cafes and parks in inner-city Sydney, the annual Tropfest short film festival is perhaps best known for the signature item that must be contained in each and every film.

Whether a muffin or a coffee bean, a bubble or a pickle, a hook or a horn, such items have always identified each film as unmistakably from a certain year.

This year's item is one that has often been a favourite of filmmakers - a balloon.

And there will be balloons aplenty when the short film festival is held at Wollongong's Botanic Garden tomorrow, with entry free.

Organisers will be hoping there is no sign of another former signature item: the umbrella.

Last year's Tropfest in Wollongong was moved to the university because of rain, but the Mercury understands that if it rains this year, the event will be cancelled. Updates will be posted on Tropfest's Facebook page.

Wollongong has been selected as the only regional centre to host Tropfest this year, which Destination Wollongong general manager Mark Sleigh puts down to the city's reputation as a cultural melting-pot.

"It's such a great cult event - it feels really good," he said.

"The botanic garden will be a relaxed environment. You can let the kids run off and have a bit of a play in the park."

The gates open at 3pm. There will be entertainment and activities until the films start at 7pm. Beer and wine will be served.

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