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What To See & What To Do At The 2021 Great Barrier Reef Festival In Airlie Beach

By Paige Miller

Everyone is invited to the party as the Great Barrier Reef Festival celebrates its 21st birthday in Airlie Beach.

Here is everything you need to know to make the most of this year’s program of entertainment and events from Thursday, August 5 to Sunday, August 8.

Whitsunday Green Club is offering a special $20 deal at their 18-hole course as part of the Reef Festival. Picture: Supplied

1. Social Golf Day

When: 10am- 2pm, Thursday August 5.

Where: Whitsunday Green Club, 1 Regatta Boulevard, Cannon Valley.

What: Bring the family and give ‘modern golf’ a try at Whitsunday Green’s first Reef Festival Social Day.
A rapidly growing sport, modern golf is quicker than traditional golf, fun, affordable, and suits all ages and all skill levels.

How much: $20 per person, includes balls and club hire.

Coral Sea Marina is hosting a free workshop on Friday morning for anyone interested in doing their bit to help the reef. Picture: Supplied

2. Protecting the Reef Workshop

When: 10am – 12.30pm, Friday, August 6.


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Where: The Lookout Lounge, Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach.

What: Learn from climate action leaders and advocates for reef research and see what you can do to encourage the long-term health of the reef. Well-known dive guru and one of the founders of the Order of Underwater Coral Heroes Tony Fontes will MC the event.

How much: FREE.

Make or buy a lantern and join the parade as it lights up the foreshore on Friday night. Picture: Supplied

3. Lantern Parade

When: 5.15pm – 6.30pm, Friday August 6.

Where: The Garden Bar, Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach.

What: The Coral Sea Marina Resort Lantern Parade will bring a sea of light along the Bicentennial Boardwalk, past Sorrento’s Restaurant and Bar and down onto the foreshore in time for the fireworks to burst into action overhead.
There will be a small amount of ready-made lanterns available for purchase on the night, but there are some great prizes up for grabs for making your own.

How much: FREE.

The Friday night fireworks on the foreshore are not to be missed. Picture: Supplied

4. Fireworks on the Foreshore

When: Friday August 6 (music and pop up bar from 6pm, fireworks at 8pm, food stalls open until 9pm).

Where: The Esplanade, Airlie Beach.

What: This event will take over the entire Airlie foreshore from Fairy Tree Park to the market site near the Sailing Club, with night markets along the beach featuring food stalls, carnival rides and a variety of performers on the ‘market stage’ including the region’s top youth talent.

How much: Free entry.

Saturday’s Miss Revvin’ the Reef competition sees contestants dress up in their finest 1950s and 60s outfits. Picture: Supplied

5. Revvin the Reef Car Show

When: 10am – 2pm, Saturday August 7.

Where: Shute Harbour Road (Main Street), Airlie Beach.

What: Hot rods, muscle and classic cars will be hitting the main street of Airlie Beach to take you back in time, with shiny new cars, motorbikes and trucks also welcome to join the show.
The day includes the much-loved Miss Revvin’ the Reef competition featuring contestants dressed to impressed in their finest 1950s and 60s gear.

How much: Free entry. Registration fees can be found online.

Cash prizes and vouchers are up for the taking in the all-ages Magic Mile Run. Picture: Supplied

6. Magic Mile Run

When: 3pm – 4pm, Saturday August 7.

Where: Shute Harbour Road (Main Street), Airlie Beach.

What: Whitsunday Running Club’s Magic Mile brings another fun element to an already exciting day.
Anybody can get involved, with events for adults and children ages 6 and up, and cash prizes and vouchers for the winners.

How much: $10 per adult, kids FREE.

The Saturday street parade is always on of the Reef Festival’s most popular events. Picture: Supplied

7. Street Parade

When: 4pm – 5pm, Saturday August 7.

Where: Shute Harbour Road (Main Street), Airlie Beach.

What: Fun for all the family at the annual parade which showcases our region’s businesses, organisations, schools and community groups. Airlie’s Main Street will be a sea of colour with lots of music creating a great atmosphere, as young and old, locals and tourists, line the streets to watch the parade and soak up the entertainment.

How much: FREE.

Check out the thrills and spills of the Recyclable Regatta on Sunday morning. Picture: Supplied

8. Recyclable Regatta

When: 10am – 12pm, Sunday August 8.

Where: Airlie Beach Foreshore.

What: Make a raft out of recyclable materials and battle it out with the ‘pirates’ on the high seas.

Come one, come all – schools, community groups or a bunch of friends. Great prizes and fun to be had for all ages.

How much: FREE. BYO raft.

Face painting will be on offer at the family fun day on Sunday. Picture: Supplied

9. Family Fun Day

When: 10am – 2pm, Sunday August 8.

Where: The Esplanade, Airlie Beach.

What: A fun-packed day full of exciting demonstrations, rides, games and entertainment galore on our beautiful foreshore with activities including: a doughnut eating competition, ‘super crazy’ races, circus workshops, the ‘biggest beach team water fight ever’, colouring competition, kids yoga, face painting, play equipment, juggling and the awesome Eco Barge sculpture tent.

How much: FREE.

POSTPONED: Reef Gateway Hotel Comedy Gala

The Reef Festival committee has decided to postpone the comedy gala, which was scheduled for Thursday night, August 5, after the latest Brisbane lockdown prevented performers travelling to the area.

Those who have already booked are encouraged to hold on to their tickets until the committee locks in a new date, however, refunds are available via email to

Source: The Courier Mail

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