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Reef Festival shines

By Mark Beale

THE 2015 Whitsunday Reef Festival literally began with a bang as fireworks exploded into the sky on Friday night, delighting onlookers lining the foreshore.

Beach night markets, rides and games kept the crowd happy.

Residents and tourists were drawn to the main street for Bendigo Bank’s Revvin’ the Reef car parade on Saturday morning – a new event which also featured a pin-up competition.

Come 4pm it was time for the famous Rotary street parade and the atmosphere was electric.

There was everything from Minions, jellyfish, dog walkers and sharks hitting the main street of Airlie Beach.

Children were squealing as they were getting sprayed by water guns (courtesy of Plants Whitsunday) and thrown lollies from parade participants.

The crowd broke out into a deafening cheer when Jason Ford and Airlie Aqua Park crew made their way down, flying flags, and in a beach buggy.

On Sunday the traditional Telstra Whitsunday Family Day took place and the not-so traditional, brand new Bait to Plate seafood celebration at Fish D’vine – which was a smashing hit.

Local musicians and David Flower Band entertained for the Saturday Night Street Party as rides and games went off in the background like a typical sideshow alley.

And the party doesn’t stop there.

Already this week there have been sailing adventures with Merit Racing, beach markets, helicopter joy rides and beginner Latin dance workshops on the foreshore.

Thursday’s a laugh-out-loud night at the Whitsunday Reef Festival Comedy Gala, which is this year held at the Whitsunday Arts and Cultural Centre and Friday sets you up for the weekend with the help of the Whitsundays Tropical Festival of Sailing’s opening party at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

Don’t for get the Wearable Art parade and Frocktails fashion spectacular on Saturday and the Whitsunday Times Lagoon Race Day featuring the Recyclable Regatta on the Sunday.

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