WELCOME TO AIRLIE
Whitsundays’ biggest citizenship ceremony
We’ve had nothing but wonderful feedback from all around town... — Kevin Collins
THERE were copious amounts of food, plenty to drink and an assortment of entertainment at the Great Australian Bites festival last Thursday.
It was clear many Whitsunday residents are proud to be Australian, sporting Australia Day hats, clothing and sunglasses all while waving the Australian flag.
Deputy mayor John Collins opened the festival, which brought 2200 people through the gates – a huge jump from last year where 800 people were in attendance.
MC Des O’Neill brought an extra bit of character to the day. And the event wasn’t short of entertainment, with performances from Meryn Hall, Breeze Duo, Island Rhythm, The Fox and the Proserpine Citizens Band.
Keeping guests from going hungry and thirsty were a variety of local businesses which set up stalls along the Airlie Beach foreshore.
But it was the live cooking demonstrations from Fish D’Vine chefs Rebecca Clark and Kevin Collins and Airlie Beach Hotel chef Bradley Martin that caught the attention of festival-goers.
Kevin Collins said he was more than happy with how the day unfolded, saying it was “absolutely great”.
“All the restaurants (on the foreshore) sold out, which was perfect,” he said.
“It’s hard to say we could have had a better day than what we did.
“We’ve had nothing but wonderful feedback from all around town... and I think it was probably one of the most successful food festivals we’ve had.”
Mr Collins said with the event held at the same time as the Australia Day Awards and the Citizenship Ceremony, the turnout was “unprecedented”.
“I can’t wait for next year,” he said.
A whopping 53 people became Australian citizens, with 51 receiving their citizenship documents at the event.
And with the Australia Day awards being held on the same day, proud faces filled the town.
NEW ADDITIONS: The Whitsundays’ new Australian citizens pose for a group photo at Fairy Tree Park on Australia Day.