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Everything You Need To Know About The Reef Festival

By Mark Beale

The eagerly awaited Whitsunday Reef Festival is almost here and boy, is there a lot to look forward to.

Over the course of 10 days, entertainment will be pouring out of Airlie Beach and there’s plenty of different events to attend. Check out our guide to what’s on so you don’t miss a thing.

Road Closures

During the Reef festival, there will be road closures. Visit our story to find out which roads will be affected.

Whitsunday Reef Festival opening night

The Whitsunday Reef Festival will kick off with a bang on Friday night getting everyone ready for the day 10-day entertainment extravaganza. From markets and carnival rides to fireworks on the foreshore and live bands on the Main Stage, your adrenaline will be pumping with the high levels of excitement. Local boys The Bandy Project, whip cracking world record holder Nathan “Whippy” Griggs, Will Anderson, DJ Sugarlips and Sydney’s DJ Truman will all be there to entertain us.

  • What: Whitsunday Reef Festival opening night
  • Where: Airlie Beach foreshore and main street
  • When: Friday
  • Cost: Free

Revvin’ the Reef Car Show and Miss Pin-Up Competition

Rev machines from as far afield as Townsville and Rockhampton will roll into town for one of the biggest car shows this side of Brisbane, the Revvin’ the Reef Car Show, on Saturday. Everything from Hot Rods and muscle cars to classic models will be on show. The Miss Pin-Up Competition run in conjunction with this event will showcase gorgeous girls in their best ’50s or ’60s attire.

  • What: Revvin’ the Reef Car Show and Miss Pin-Up Competition
  • Where: Airlie Beach main street
  • When: Saturday from 10am-3pm, Pin-Up at noon
  • Cost: Free

Rotary Street Parade

This year’s Rotary Street Parade’s theme is Finding the Reef and those involved have taken the theme into full swing. The parade is a great excuse to dress up and have some fun with your friends and colleagues and promote your business, school or community group.

  • What: Rotary Street Parade
  • Where: Airlie Beach main street
  • When: Saturday from 4pm
  • Cost: Free

Rockin’ the Reef Street Party

Some of Australia’s hottest bands will hit the Beach Music Main Stage on Saturday night including Electrik Lemonade and King Social. The festival pop-up bar in the lagoon carpark will also be open from 5pm and there will be a ‘Reef Fest After Party’ at Beaches. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes because the music will be pumping.

  • What: Rockin’ the Reef Street Party
  • Where: Beach Music Main Stage
  • When: Saturday from 6pm-10pm
  • Cost: Free

Telstra Family Fun Day

Sunday’s Telstra Family Fun Day is the perfect family event with a huge variety of free activities on offer. Visitors can enjoy the more traditional face painting and circus play or try out the more modern texting and selfie competitions. The ‘Wacky Races’ are back again with games such as the egg-and-spoon race, the sack race and three-legged race on beautiful Airlie Point.

  • What: Telstra Family Fun Day
  • Where: Airlie Beach foreshore
  • When: Sunday, August 7 from 10am
  • Cost: Free

Bait to plate celebration of food

Local seafood restaurant Fish D’Vine will take Reef Festival visitors on a “culinary journey” on Sunday as diners experience an “up close and personal” dining experience. Visitors will learn how the fish are caught, how to handle, prepare and cook them and at the same time, will be treated to a seven-course lunch with matching wines.

  • What: Bait to Plate Celebration of Food
  • Where: Fish D’Vine Restaurant and Rum Bar
  • When: Sunday from noon-4pm
  • Cost: $69 per person
  • Bookings 4948 0088

Festival Marquee

For the first time, the Reef Festival will include a marquee to mark the centre of all the action. The marquee will host some of the festival’s major events including the Cocktails Party and Comedy Gala and will even feature live music from Electrik Lemonade.

  • What: Festival Marquee
  • When: Saturday, August 6, to Saturday, August 13
  • Where: Airlie Beach foreshore next to Airlie Creek

Comedy Gala

This year’s comedy gala will feature two popular comedians- Michael Bennett and Fiona McGary. Drinks and food will be available at the event and organisers want as many people as possible to join them for a night of laughter.

  • What: Comedy Gala
  • Where: Reef Festival Marquee
  • When: Thursday, August 11
  • Cost: $25
  • Tickets:

Wearable Art Parade

What better way to show off your creative side than taking part in the Wearable Art Competition on Saturday, August 13. Everything from metal and recycled objects to silk and rubber will be cleverly put together to creative dramatic outfits. Make sure you check out the unique creations.

Recyclable Regatta

A ragged bunch of creative people will be paddling around the Airlie Beach Lagoon on Sunday, August 14, taking part in the Recyclable Regatta and this year’s theme is Finding the Reef. Entrants can use a range of recycled items to create their crafts including drink bottles, plastic drums, pipes and sheeting bamboo poles.

  • What: Recyclable Regatta
  • Where: Airlie Beach Lagoon
  • When: Sunday, August 14
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