Fes­ti­val to fin­ish with a sparkle

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - VANESSA MARSH MADURA MCCOR­MACK

SOME of the mil­i­tary’s most im­pres­sive hard­ware will be on dis­play this af­ter­noon as the an­nual River­fire lights up the Bris­bane sky­line.

To­day’s event, which caps off the 22-day Bris­bane Fes­ti­val, will kick off at 3.30pm with dis­plays from air­craft, in­clud­ing the RAAF Roulettes and the Army’s MRH-90 he­li­copters.

Dis­plays from the RAAF’s new EA-18G Growlers are ex­pected to be one of the crowd favourites and will help mark the start of the night’s py­rotech­nics dis­play, which will see 11 tonnes of fire­works launched into the Bris­bane sky.

Squadron Leader Jay Tuf­fley, who flies Roulette One, said it was a “real honour” for the pi­lots to per­form at River­fire. “It’s pretty awesome for us to be able to put on a dis­play for the 20th River­fire,” he said.

“It al­lows peo­ple to watch an air­show right in their CBD.

“It’s a phe­nom­e­nal sight.”

The EA-18G Growlers are some of the new­est hard­ware in the Aus­tralian mil­i­tary, ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing electronic war­fare sup­port by dis­rupt­ing and de­ceiv­ing mil­i­tary sys­tems, in­clud­ing radars and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Bris­bane Fes­ti­val artis­tic di­rec­tor David Berthold said the de­fence force dis­plays were al­ways a crowd favourite at the an­nual event. “This is prob­a­bly the big­gest Aus­tralian De­fence Force dis­play we’ve had,” he said.

“We usu­ally get some­where to­wards half a mil­lion peo­ple lin­ing the river, so it will cer­tainly be a big night.”

But last-minute rev­ellers will be hard-pressed find­ing a free ta­ble along the river tonight, with reser­va­tion lists filled months in ad­vance. Tick­ets for spots at some restau­rants cost any­where be­tween $99 and $160 or more for a three-course meal dur­ing the an­nual spec­tac­u­lar.

Spots at ARIA, along Ea­gle Street Pier, are said to start fill­ing up the day after River­fire as cus­tomers se­cure their spots a year in ad­vance.

Work­mates Sam Bas-

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