The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS//

Awhirl­wind of colour and ex­cite­ment twirled, marched and strut­ted down the Cairns Es­planade all the way to Fog­a­rty Park to open this year’s Cairns Fes­ti­val.

With about 3500 par­tic­i­pants, the Grand Pa­rade proved yet again, as among one of the city’s most loved events.

Each year the event draws in­creas­ing spec­ta­tor num­bers, with this year’s pa­rade at­tract­ing an es­ti­mated crowd of 20,000, in­clud­ing many vis­i­tors to our beau­ti­ful city.

The theme was Shine and that’s just what the 85-strong line-up of walk­ing, danc­ing, drum­ming and driv­ing floats did with vi­brant colours in­spired by ev­ery­thing from the Great Bar­rier Reef to the rain­bow flag for gay mar­riage equal­ity.

Cairns did what Cairns does best – expressing and em­brac­ing its di­ver­sity.

Art, cul­ture and com­mu­nity spirit were a big stand­out for me this year.

Cairns is such a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety. As I watched on from the Munro Mar­tin Park­lands, the ef­fort put into recre­at­ing tra­di­tional cos­tumes and dance was mind blow­ing. They were cer­tainly loud and proud with some dressed head-to-toe in bells and chimes.

Ev­ery group was so unique and the level of de­tail was im­pres­sive. One school in par­tic­u­lar, St Ger­ard Ma­jella Pri­mary School, stood out. Each child on the float was dressed as some­thing dif­fer­ent, from dancers to artists and sports stars. Their ob­jec­tive was to come dressed as what­ever it is they do best and what­ever it is that makes them shine.

See­ing how the youngest spec­ta­tors and par­tic­i­pants reacted to all the ex­cite­ment was my favourite part of the event.

It spoke of the over­whelm­ing sense of com­mu­nity the pa­rade evokes each year.

Bring­ing the much-loved an­nual event to a close, fireworks lit up the night sky, cap­tur­ing the un­di­vided at­ten­tion of thou­sands of tired lit­tle eyes with a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play that could be seen from as far away as Bar­low Park.

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