Tony Harrison gets close to Kalamata, the olive python.
Tony Harrison gets close to Kalamata, the olive python.

EcoFest wins over crowds

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

SNAKES bring a cold shiver and a tingle up the spine to most people.

But yesterday, thousands of locals got to see first-hand the friendlier side of these reptiles at this year's EcoFest. Kalamata the olive python, pictured with handler Tony Harrison, was just one of the attractions yesterday, with children and parents lining up to show their courage and take the rare opportunity to handle the snake at Tondoon Botanic Gardens.

Other animals to entertain the crowd at the packed-out event included crocodiles and kangaroos.

Gladstone City Council environmental health officer Tom Boarder hailed the day a huge success with about 3000 people through the gate.

"It's been a good day again, with plenty of interest. It just continues to grow each year,'' Mr Boarder said.

EcoFest started about seven years ago as a modest event to celebrate local environmental initiatives.

Today it is one of the biggest events on the local calendar with local business, industry and community groups coming out to showcase their environmental wares.

Yesterday's celebrations also included a world record attempt with a difference.

Children's entertainers, the Rainbows, Marc and Debra Bright of Bundaberg, went on a face-painting spree to paint 83 faces in 10 minutes.



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