Brilliant year for the Rotary Street Parade
MORE than 400 people took part in this year’s Whitsunday Reef Festival street parade, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach.
A total of 34 floats traversed the length of the Airlie Beach main street with entrants ranging from schools to community organisations to local businesses.
Reef Festival naming rights sponsors Tony Brown and Deb Smallman, from True Blue Sailing, were at the forefront of the parade and could not be missed with their ninja turtle entourage and Fiat Bambino, decorated with a colourful reef scene.
The parade’s ‘heart of the reef’ theme was embraced by all entrants, with some innovative interpretations and political statements made.
Speaking on behalf of the community group Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD), who won the parade’s best not-for-profit category, Brittney Gregory said WRAD’s float was about celebrating the reef but also bringing home the message that it is under threat from dredging and dumping in its world heritage waters.
“On the way up the main street we celebrated our beautiful Great Barrier Reef [and] on the way back we mourned the death of it – let’s choose to protect this reef, so we can continue celebrating it,” she said.
Parade co-ordinator and Rotarian Merewyn Wright, said this year’s street parade was certainly the biggest for several years and she thanked all the entrants for the amount of work they put into their costumes and floats.
Reef Festival chairwoman Margie Murphy also thanked the local VMR and SES who helped with marshalling and road closures throughout the event.
REEF THEMED: There were some colourful entrants to this year's Rotary Street Parade.
TURTLE POWER: 2014 Reef Festival sponsors Deb Smallman and Tony Brown, led the Rotary Street Parade on Saturday in their Fiat Bambino, flanked by an army of lolly-throwing ninja turtles, who were loved by the crowd. Photo by Debbie Savy / Tropix Photography.
COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Community organisations like the Parent Action Group had strong representation at Saturday's Rotary Street Parade.
MAKING A STATEMENT: Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) made a statement about the current dredge spoil debate with their float for the Reef Festival's Rotary Street Parade.
SAVE THE REEF: Nathaniel Savy, 12, Jack Opie, 12, James Hering, 12, and Chris Taylor on their Save the Reef float during the Rotary Street Parade on Saturday afternoon.