Melbourne: Bollywood actress Pallavi Sharda and former cricket star Shane Warne were today crowned this year's monarchs of the famous Moomba, an annual festival to be held next month here.
"I'm very glad for the first time in many years to come back and be the queen of Moomba alongside Shane and have my birthday here," Sharda said.
Echoing her, Warne said, "I live overseas but when I come back to Melbourne it just feels special. I love Melbourne... Love it," he said. Moomba, one of Australia's largest community festival attracting over a million people, has a long history since 1955.
The event is held every year around the famous Yarra River with traditional events like Moomba parade, crowning of monarchs, fireworks displays, carnivals in the gardens along the river.
"The Moomba Festival program is bigger than ever this year with local music talent, world class athletes and a wide range of free shows and activities for all ages," city Mayor Robert Doyle said, adding, "I'm delighted to announce Shane Warne and Pallavi Sharda as this year's Moomba Monarchs: two born and bred Melburnians who are internationally renowned in their professions.
"Moomba is a festival truly unique to Melbourne which celebrates our diverse cultural identity and extraordinary local talent," Doyle said. Councillor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer, Chair of Council's Marketing Melbourne portfolio, said Moomba has etched itself into the hearts of Melburnians, and provides something new to discover every year.
"Moomba has been around for decades, yet it continues to evolve and celebrate Melbourne's extraordinary curiosity and appetite for discovery with new attractions every year," councillor Pinder-Mortimer said. The festival runs from March 6 to 9.