Cel­e­brat­ing the heart of the reef

Whitsunday Times - - CHILL - Peter Car­ruthers Peter.Car­ruthers@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

AIR­LIE comes alive in Au­gust to the sights and sounds of the big­gest party on the Whit­sun­day event cal­en­der.

The an­nual Whit­sun­day Reef Fes­ti­val de­liv­ers four days of wall to wall en­ter­tain­ment.

It will be a re­duced pro­gram this year thanks to Cy­clone Debbie but there will still be an in­cred­i­ble di­ver­sity of events guar­an­teed to please fam­i­lies with young chil­dren to sin­gle trav­ellers and every­one in be­tween.

The fes­ti­val, now in its 17th year, is themed Heart of the Reef, as it cel­e­brates what it means to live in the Whit­sun­days, on the edge of the Co­ral Sea and in the mid­dle of the Great Bar­rier Reef.

The fes­ti­val is full of clas­sic events such as Tel­stra Fam­ily Fun Day, Revvin’ the Reef Car Show, Fire­works on the Fore­shore and the beach mu­sic stage

will be Rockin the Reef through­out the week­end.

New event this year is the Mantra Magic Mile Run which will be run on Air­lie’s main street be­tween the two round­abouts.

One of the most pop­u­lar events of the fes­ti­val is the Ro­tary Street Pa­rade.

Spec­ta­tors flock to the newly-re­vi­talised main street to watch the amaz­ing floats, built by busi­nesses, com­mu­nity and school groups, pass by.

Cafes, bars and restau­rants over­flow as lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike en­joy the Whit­sun­day hos­pi­tal­ity and show their sup­port for those in the pa­rade.

The younger kids are the fo­cus on Sun­day, with the Tel­stra Fam­ily Fun Day.

Cir­cus per­form­ers, face paint­ing and tra­di­tional games, such as three-legged and sack races, are run along­side mod­ern ac­tiv­i­ties like a selfie com­pe­ti­tion and slushy slurp­ing comps, with some awe­some prizes up for grabs.

There are many other events and ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the four-day pro­gram, in­clud­ing com­edy night, the pop-up sun­set bar, car­ni­val rides and mar­ket stalls.

Just an­nounced are the pop­u­lar elec­tro act, the Pot­belleez, who will re­turn to the Whit­sun­days and per­form on the beach stage on Satur­day night with 8 Ball Aitken.

King So­cial will head­line a stel­lar bill of DJs on Fri­day and the lads will also launch their new al­bum called In Colour.

More great en­ter­tain­ment in the form of the Ro­tary Flick­er­fest will be sure to draw crowds to the Air­lie Beach fore­shore on Sun­day.

PHOTO: DEB SAVY / TROPIX PHOTOGRAPHY

CRAZY COLOUR: The Ro­tary street pa­rade is a colour­ful heart of the reef-themed af­fair.

PHOTO: INGE HANSEN

Lisa and Amy Stockow, Margi Mur­phy, Lisa Mul­vi­hill, Re­becca Ross, Char­lotte Oren­shaw, Daniel Thus­berg and Heather Ba­trick.

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