Main street launch to be part of reef fes­ti­val

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

THIS year’s 13th an­nual Whit­sun­day Reef Fes­ti­val from Au­gust 15-18 will also mark the of­fi­cial launch of the re-vamped Air­lie Beach main street.

While the de­tails of the mardigras-style street party are yet to be fi­nalised, the agree­ment for a fund­ing boost of $20,000 was ap­proved at yes­ter­day’s Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil meet­ing in Bowen.

Cr Whit­ney said that by part­ner­ing with the Reef Fes­ti­val, Coun­cil would be help­ing an ex­ist­ing event to grow and en­sur­ing that the com­mu­nity would ben­e­fit.

“It won’t just be a plain-Jane cut the tape and it’s all over – they want some­thing that peo­ple will re­mem­ber,” she said.

Reef Fes­ti­val chair­per­son Margie Mur­phy was ex­cited by the prospect of step­ping up the an­nual event to in­cor­po­rate the long-awaited cel­e­bra­tion of a new-look main street.

“We aim to stop traf­fic and hold the party of the year,” she said.

“The street will be alive with per­form­ers, funky sounds and the traders will open up their doors and spill onto the street.”

Ms Mur­phy said the theme of this year’s Reef Fes­ti­val was ‘heart of the reef’, which would put the ‘reef’ back into Reef Fes­ti­val.

Probuild Civil pro­ject man­ager Alis­tair Neale said while the main street up­grade would not be of­fi­cially fin­ished by Au­gust 15, con­struc­tion would be down to the fin­ish­ing touches such as fur­ni­ture, light poles, plants, bins and fi­nal paving at that stage.

“As long as ev­ery­thing goes to plan and there’s no wet weather, the road will be open in both di­rec­tions from about Au­gust 8 and the only real re­main­ing works will be a sec­tion of foot­path from the car park in the cen­tre of town to­wards the Air­lie Es­planade,” he said.

The Reef Fes­ti­val starts with a com­edy gala on Thurs­day, Au­gust 15. Other events in­clude the Porters fire­works on the Fri­day night, Ro­tary street pa­rade and Great Whit­sun­day Fun Race on Satur­day and Tel­stra Fam­ily Fun Day on Sun­day, Au­gust 18.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.whit­sun­dayre­effes­ti­

PARTY TIME: Reef Fes­ti­val com­mit­tee mem­bers Fleur Stone (back left), Stacy Harvey and Margie Mur­phy (back right), Cr Jan Clif­ford, Cr Kevin Collins (back cen­tre) and lo­cal chil­dren Dane Gottschalk, Tahlia Skinner, Ned Bar­bara and Keely Skinner are look­ing for­ward to this year's reef-themed fes­ti­val and mardi-gras-style party to launch the re-vamped Air­lie Beach main street.

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