Thousands of twins, triplets, quadruplets, and every other marvel of multiple birth flocked to Melbourne, Australia last weekend to mingle with other lookalike siblings for the 2015 Twins Plus Festival.
Billed as an event like no other, Festival Chairperson and mother of 13-year-old twins, Karen Willetts, insists that in among all the double vision and triple takes, the festival revolves around having fun and offering support to multiple birth families.
"Life in families with multiples can sometimes be difficult because of the extra strain on finances, added stress on relationships, and difficulties with educational outcomes. We want families with multiples to know there is a lot of support around them and they're not alone."And with over 3,000 people present, at least half of who were related, there was no danger of anyone feeling alone. Including Australia's oldest triplets, Florence, Betsy, and Dorothy Welsh. The three 75-year-olds had a grand old time, and Dorothy explained to the Daily Mail that life without her siblings was unimaginable.
"It would be devastating. We're very close, we finish each others sentences all the time and we're always checking up on each other. It's incredible to see so many twins together in one place."Alongside twin-talent performances and celebrity twin meet-and-greets, there was a handful of scientific researchers on the prowl, scouting for recruits to use in research regarding the science and psychology of life for people who resemble one another in an uncanny way.
Jeff Craig, an associate professor of the Australian Twin Registry, said that many twins attend the Twins Plus Festival to speak with the researchers about life as a multiple birth sibling.
"There was a vast number of twins who had come purely to speak with the researchers. There were teams conducting studies on epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, and autism through the frame of multiple birth siblings."Identical twin surf lifesavers, Stuart and Phillip Daniels, attended the Twins Plus Festival for the fourth time and revealed that they're addictive.
"Twin festivals are like nothing else we've been to, and we have travelled extensively around the world. We all have so much in common as twins and it's great to share stories about our twin lives. Once you go to one, you go back again and again as they are so interesting and fun."