West End State School Fiesta fun.

Despite the wet weather forecast and sodden grounds, Amanda’s school fete was a huge success with droves turning up from  our suburb and all around. Rides had cues snaking metres long, the trash and treasure stalls attracted hordes of bargain hunters and everywhere you looked, there were people with a plate in their hand and a smile on their faces.

Amanda and I arrived at close to noon with our friends Mehan, Janaki and their daughter Maya, to partake in the festivities. Our first stop was the grade 2 cake stall where I dropped off my donation of home-made chocolate chip cookies and Janaki picked up Elmo from Sesame Street cupcakes. Next, we had a tour of the food stalls, stopping by each one to see what was on offer. Since we had a late breakfast, it was mutually agreed that we would continue checking out the fiesta and this we did by making a beeline for the crafts stall. There Janaki picked up a lovely hand-knitted preppy sweater for Maya and I, a hand-knotted cream and caramel scarf for myself to combat the coming cold.

At the WESS Fiesta.

Standing in front of the crafts, jams and preserve stalls at the West End State School Fiesta.

We circled the preserve and jams stall, when His Royal Highness joined us with his on-call phone. We were not expecting him but Amanda was clearly pleased to have him with us. She dragged me to the Tombola stall where my one dollar bought her the surprise prize of one plastic doll and a beaded necklace. Janaki and I then took off to dig for our own treasure in the Trash and Treasure stall at the end of the field. We each picked up a couple of books and I, an almost new Kookai wool dress for the bargain price of $3.

Bargain hunting at WESS Fiesta.

At the books stall at the West End State School Fiesta.

From there, we adjourned to another pre-loved goods stall, where in the fashion of all Asian mothers, I was as pleased as Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas when I spied a huge board for Amanda to learn her times-table from. We hauled our finds back to Mehan and His Royal Highness, sitting docilely with the kids under a tent next to the cake stall, talking shop, before going to grab lunch.

Eritrean food at the WESS Fiesta.

Eritrean food at the West End State School Fiesta.

All in all, I’d say we had a great day out. Organisers hope to equal or better last year’s record of $45k raised from this annual event. Funds raised will be put towards adding to the school’s stock of library books and new computers.



Preparations for Fiesta.

Ahead of tomorrow’s “Fiesta” at Amanda’s school, I joined a bunch of mums and dads to help Ms Dung, a long-time organiser of the Vietnamese food stall, to make what Aussies call “dimsims” and clean cooked prawns so that they can be put into cold rolls. Borrowing from the Chinese, “dimsims” are similar to wontons in that both are small pieces of flattened dough filled with meat. The version that I made was a combination of minced pork, peas, diced onions and mushrooms, seasoned with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Since a picture paints a thousand words, here are some snapshots for the day’s proceedings.

Pan frying peanuts for dipping sauce.

One of Ms Dung's helpers pan-roasting nuts to make the dipping sauce for the cold rolls.

Cleaning prawns for Vietnamese cold rolls.

Volunteers removing prawn poop and slicing prawns.

Making pork dimsum.

Volunteers making "dimsims".

Australian pork dimsum.

My cute little "dimsims".

Making pork dimsum.

Me and my production line.

By the end of the three hours, I’d made new friends, had many laughs and was thoroughly competent in the art of making “dimsims” and removing prawn poop. Woo hoo ! Two more skills to add to my CV. Here’s a preview of some rides for tomorrow. Out in the school field, people were hard at work erecting tents for tomorrow’s event.

West End State School Fair rides.

The fearsome hurricane. No way am I going on.

Fair rides.

There are tea cups too, but you can't see them.