By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
DESPITE a sudden downpour at lunchtime yesterday and quick drenching after last night's parade, nothing was going to stop final preparations for the 43rd annual Gladstone Harbour Festival.
As thousands of excited children and their parents waited in anticipation of the launch of this year's festival, Gladstone held its breath as the heaven's opened, but late yesterday afternoon the grey clouds had disappeared and the conditions were perfect for an evening spent watching the floats and soaking up the live entertainment at the Marina Stage.
For people like Diane Hill and daughter Charlene Keegan, 11, the Gladstone Harbour Festival is the highlight of their year.
The pair have been travelling to Gladstone from Biloela for the past six years to take part in the Harbour Festival and "wouldn't miss it for the world''.
"It's so different to anything else we've been to before. The entertainment, the floats, there's so much to look at and so much to do, we just really enjoy it,'' Diane said.
She said when she first attended the Harbour Festival she was amazed at the high standard of entertainment on offer.
"There's so many rides and the entertainment at night is just great to sit back and listen to, I still can't believe it's all free,'' she said.
"We're looking forward to the fireworks on Thursday night, because you can sit right on the waterfront and see the reflection of the fireworks over the water, it's just beautiful,'' Diane said.
Tonight Gladstone residents can look forward to a performance by Australian singer Darrly Braithwaite as well as other entertainment on the Marina Stage.