Get ready for a whale of a time
Excitement is building for the biggest event on Exmouth’s calendar — the Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival.
Festival co-ordinator Branka King said the event was an important fixture on the Exmouth community calendar.
“The festival’s main objective is to bring together Government departments, businesses, industry and community members and all the while we’re educating people of all ages about the whale sharks, their fight for survival and that swimming with these harmless creatures is a really magnificent experience,” she said.
Shire of Exmouth commissioner Ian Fletcher said the Shire recognised the value of the festival for the region and was pleased to provide support.
The Shire has agreed to provide almost $7000 of in-kind support for the event including waiving fees plus the provision of traffic management, oval marking and cleaning staff.
“It is a hugely popular event on Exmouth’s calendar and we are only too happy to play a part and support the volunteer committee that does such a massive amount of work organising the festival each year.”
The festival will kick off this Friday with a gala opening launch at Mantarays Resort.
Ms King said the evening opening should not be missed.
“We’ve got some high-calibre entertainment from some incredible performers and this is your chance to leave your swimwear at home and dress up to the nines,” she said.
Performers on the night include Afro-Kreol singer Grace Barbe, the Perth Symphony Orchestra string quartet and didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins.
Festival Day on Saturday includes a full day line-up of events and activities at Talanjee Oval.
The festivities get off to a healthy start at the Ground Control and Garden Fun Run from 8.30am. People of all ages are welcome to join in the 4km course, which includes a healthy breakfast at the finish line.
From 10am, there will be an array of market stalls, food vans, live entertainment, amusements, rides and free events and activities as well as local displays from businesses, organisations and artists. Headliner act the Southern River Band will be playing with Datura 4 on the Saturday night at the Cadillac’s Bar and Grill from 7pm.
Sunday is the big day out on the reef, where the main stars of the festival, the whale sharks, take centre stage.
Whale Shark swim tour operators are offering swims at a discounted rate for festival goers.
But if swimming isn’t your thing, entry to the Cape Range National Park will be free thanks to the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Festivities will end at the Whale Shark Festival Sundown at the Exmouth Yacht Club.
There will be live entertainment, family activities, beach games, circus workshops and food and drinks from 3pm.
Mexican fiesta band Kallidad at the 2016 Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival.