A battle for the ages!

Camilo Demarco and Trish Hay
Camilo Demarco and Trish Hay

Tomorrow may April 1, but Camilo Demarco is clearly not joking as he previews an event for the ages, taking place tomorrow evening: a giant Scrabble battle.

And, when he uses the word “giant”, again he’s not mucking about, as he describes the size of the letter pieces and the playing surface involved.

“We made a full set of Scrabble pieces for an event in the State Festival here eight years ago; each piece around ten times the size of the letters you have on your board at home. We ended up being asked to do events at other festivals, including the Melbourne Writers Festival at Fed Square,” Camilo explained.

While tomorrow’s event – taking place in the courtyard of the Salvage Yard, Lewis Drive, Castlemaine – might intimidate the most confident word nerds among us, Camilo is quick to add with a smile that, despite the daunting scale, the evening is all in good fun, with proceeds, including the $10 entry fee, going directly to the Castlemaine Fringe Festival.

“We ask people to come with a team of up to four, a team name and, if it feels like fun to you, in costume. We’ll have an expert judging panel on hand, too,” he added with a laugh.

To provide the oversized 5 x 5 metre board across which the larger-than-life scrabble letters will be arrayed, Camilo has come up with an ingenious approach: a large projector will be hung overhead, projecting the scrabble board onto the surface below.

Camilo, who will also be emceeing the night, states it will be the biggest scrabble battle ever held. Feel like contradicting him? You’ll need to present you professional qualifications in lexicography.

Most of all though, he stresses the night is about community; about being together.

“The inspiration for this event was Trish Hay, who is not with us anymore. It’s an idea we came up with together and she always wanted to see the projected version of the event happen. She loved scrabble, was super competitive and loved bringing people together. This event is a tribute to her.

“My passion for the Fringe is it’s also an event that brings people together. The theme this year, Reactivate, is for me all about reactivating spaces and connecting people from different backgrounds. Things can feel too highbrow, artsy and exclusive sometimes, this event is the opposite of that – Trish would have loved it,” Camilo said, looking forward to the night.

Please bring cash to this event as there will be drinks and pizza available. This is a COVIDSafe gathering – please do not attend if you are feeling unwell.

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.