I’m not exactly sure what I thought when I originally heard about the Ginger Rally happening in Melbourne in this past April. In my memory, it was a mix of interest, curiosity, and concern. What would we be rallying? Why has Australia never had a ginger event before? How did I almost miss this bizarre opportunity?
The previous year, I attended an Irish Redhead Convention in Crosshaven, County Cork while I was living in Ireland for the summer. It was equal parts entertaining, strange, hilarious and heartwarming all rolled into one. Though it was three days and this was just one, I wasn’t sure how they would compare or what I should expect.
Three days prior to the event, I received a Facebook message from a friend daring me to attend; she had heard about it on the radio. I was shocked that I could have possibly missed a chance to attend such an exclusive event! Thanks, Holly!
It turns out that Buderim Ginger, an Australian ginger company specializing in ginger beverages and snacks, was co-hosting the first ever ginger event in Australia. Their co-host? R.A.N.G.A, the Red And Nearly Ginger Association, which is an anti-bullying, pro-ginger pride organization in Australia. Regardless of hosts, how lucky was I that the event was going to be in Melbourne?!
I submitted my interest in attendance via Buderim Ginger’s event website and received a personalized email a few hours later. They needed a handful of excited gingers to arrive pre-rally on Saturday morning for a media opportunity – or was it to be exclusively teased? Regardless, I wasn’t going to miss a chance to find out!
Upon arrival, I was slightly confused. There were less than twenty redheads and equally as many non-ginger individuals with cameras and other media equipment circling the group. The team of hosts handed out signs, t-shirts, and other Buderim Ginger memorabilia as gingers cautiously trickled into Federation Square and explained we were waiting until 10 AM to begin the media coverage.
For the next hour, there were television and newspaper interviews, photo opportunities, and pro-ginger chants being recorded for marketing and media.
Outside of this seemingly bizarre recording, it was a great time to meet and chat with other gingers, some of whom had flown in for the event. (Again, how lucky was I that it was a quick tram ride away from my apartment?!)
Finally the actual rally was set to begin! I met up with my friends who I had peer pressured to attend the event, and we began the march back across Princes Bridge back into Federation Square where the rally was to take place.
As one would imagine, the view was quite strange but the enthusiasm of the participants lightened the concern onlookers had for the sight. I mean, a bunch of gingers marching across a bridge to get free ginger soda and candies? Do what you want, crazy people…
For the rest of the morning, we took pictures, swapped Facebook and Instagram account names, and fought to the head of the lines to try the various Buderim Ginger treats available to us.
Thanks to Buderim Ginger and R.A.N.G.A. for such a memorable and enjoyable 2016 Ginger Rally!