FUN TIMES: The 2017 Gladstone Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta.
FUN TIMES: The 2017 Gladstone Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta. Mike Richards GLA140417RAFT

Preparations in full swing for Harbour Festival

THE 56th annual Gladstone Harbour Festival promises to build upon the success of almost six decades of festivals to have gone before it.

The March 28-April 1 festival, to be held in conjunction with the 70th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, has plenty on offer for all ages.

From fireworks to fairy floss, the raft regatta to street parade, there's no shortage of entertainment over the five days.

Gladstone residents can get involved too with a number of activities on offer.

Gladstone Festivals and Events event coordinator Abi Galbraith said the April 1 street parade and March 30 Great Raft Regatta are always a festival highlight.

"It'll be the same format but held a little bit earlier to work in with the tides," Ms Galbraith said.

"We don't have a specific theme for that event but we encourage everybody who enters to come up with their own team theme and obviously we love to see people wearing awesome costumes and decorating their crafts as bright as possible."

 

Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta 2017.
Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta 2017. Mike Richards GLA140417RAFT

Ms Galbraith said the environmentally friendly flour bombs will also make a return this year.

"Some people go out there to complete the course, others just stop and throw flour bombs for 15-20 minutes and paddle back in," she said.

"I think it's just as fun to watch as it is for the people actually doing it."

The street parade is another event that's open to people's imagination.

 

The Workforce Easter Street Parade - Stepping Stones child care centre.

Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
The Workforce Easter Street Parade - Stepping Stones child care centre. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA030415PRDE

"There's different entries. We have floats, vehicle entries, marching groups and we've even had a cycling group before so it doesn't necessarily have to be a float," Ms Galbraith said.

"We theme the street parade every year and this year's parade is a Parade of Sails to celebrate the 70th year of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.

"The winner will be whoever does the best job at putting together an entry that really celebrates that theme.

"It usually goes for about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how fast the floats go.

"We had about 20 floats last year and we'd love that as a minimum again this year."

The kids won't miss out either with entries now open for the Harbour Festival Ambassador Quest.

 

The 55th annual Gladstone Harbour. Festival opening night, Crowning of Ambassadors and Talent Quest.
The 55th annual Gladstone Harbour. Festival opening night, Crowning of Ambassadors and Talent Quest. Mike Richards GLA120417FEST

The quest, a highlight of this year's program, will offer boys and girls aged between 5-16 the opportunity to build confidence, show off their personalities and gain invaluable experience in a formal judging and presentation ceremony.

An overall winner will be crowned Miss/Master Gladstone Harbour Festival and will win a trip for two to Heron Island.

Four category winners (Mini, Junior, Tween and Teen) will be named with prize packs on offer.

Visit gladstonefestival.

com/harbourfestival for more information.



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