Festival organiser buoyed by crowd

THE weather has been good and so have the crowds for the 54th Gladstone Harbour Fest.

Gladstone Festivals and Events president Raymond Lewis wrote an open letter on February 29 about the lack of community spirit around the festival.

At the time were five entries into the festival's Great Raft Regatta but yesterday morning there were 16 sitting on top of the water before the event started.

There were more than 500 people watching from around the Yacht Club, Matthew Flinders Bridge and the Marina.

Mr Lewis said it was a great day numbers wise.

"The town got together and put more rafts in," he said.

"We had double what we had last year. There were huge crowds watching."

Calliope Rural Fire Brigade's Poop Deck and Fenner Dunlop's Piece of Ship fought for line honours.

Captain of the Poop Deck Jo Hill said they were clear winners despite not having a motor.

She claimed Piece of Ship had a motor but she didn't expect anything else from a bunch of pirates.

Piece of Ship crewmembers Adrian Wright and Mark Seckington said they won.

"We won. Everyone was cheering for us before we hit the bank," Adrian said.

"It was good fun, I'm exhausted." Mark said.

The Titanic award went to Gladstone Community Linking Agency because its raft sunk within the first few strokes and had to be rescued.

Best dressed went to Mater Hospital, best juvenile team went Calliope Scouts and the media award went to The Observer. Midwifery Group won most creative and Dolphin Scouts placed second.

There will be a range of activities for kids all day today followed by fireworks and The Australian Beatles Show and Jumping Jack Flash Show from 6.30pm.

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