Dame Edna at the Captain Cook 1770 Festival.
Dame Edna at the Captain Cook 1770 Festival. Mike Richards

Town takes step back in time to celebrate its history

THE Town of 1770 took a step back in time at the weekend to celebrate the town's founding as part of the Captain Cook 1770 Festival.

The five-day festival kicked off on Wednesday with an art auction and award show at Agnes Water Community Hall, before the real fun began with a re-enactment of Captain Cook's landing on Friday.

A street parade on Saturday began at the 1770 Marina and led a procession of sailing ships and old postal wagons to the festival grounds where there were rides, market stalls and live music.

Captain Cook 1770 Festival committee president Cheryl Wickes said a lot of local business got involved in the festival.

She said the fireworks on Saturday night were the highlight of the event.

"People came from far and wide to come to our event," she said.

"We're only a small community, but to see fireworks like that, they were probably the best I have ever seen."

The Gooreng Gooreng Traditional Dancers also performed at the official opening ceremony on Saturday featuring a traditional welcome song.

Among the entertainment who performed at the festival were Rockhampton-based group the Thunderbirds and the Cleveland Blues.

Cheryl Murry goes to the festival every year and returned yesterday especially to watch Quatro play, whose band members went to school with her daughter Marnie, 12.

"We came back today to have another festival feast and to watch Quatro," she said.

"The highlight was probably the parade as well and the food and the music."

Also revelling in the atmosphere were friends Uma Brennan, 13, and Kaitlyn Moody, 14.

"I'm really enjoying the entertainment," Uma said. "They've got good stalls, really good food and fun rides."

Kaitlyn, from Agnes Water said the festival was the main event of the year.

There was plenty to keep the kids entertained throughout the day including rock climbing, camel rides, art workshops and duck races.

Stall holders from around the region also took the opportunity to showcase their products and add to the atmosphere of the day.

Malichi Fahey, 6, at the Captain Cook 1770 Festival.
Malichi Fahey, 6, at the Captain Cook 1770 Festival. Mike Richards

Among the stalls at the festival, Bob Gammage from the Theatre of Life Artistry painted portraits of the festival as it unfolded.

"I step into a moment that belongs to the community and their celebration," Mr Gammage said.

"I capture what's going on and compose the canvas."

Members of the public were also welcome to pick up a paint brush to create works of art to remember the event.

Lizzie Gordon, 13, tried her hand at creating a master piece at the stall yesterday.

She said the zorb balls were her favourite part as well as participating in the hip hop dance workshop.

"It's good because the stalls help support the community and it's really fun," Lizzie said.

The festival concluded on Sunday afternoon with a performance by Cosmic String Theory and an auction of paintings by Mr Gammage.

A touch of Aussie fame came to the town with an appearance by a Dame Edna look-a-like.

Camel rides proved popular - with Sally Vennik and one-year-old Misty Rose going for a ride on a camel.

The side-show component was a big hit as Isabella Devlin, 5, had some fun in a giant bubble ball, Brielle Czapracka, 3, picked up a floral souvenir and Malichi Fahey, 6, one-year-old Amelia and Robert Develin and June Nebaoer all tried some thrills and spills.

The annual event is now in its 22nd year and is put together by Discovery Coast Tourism and Commerce.

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