It is official – not only is Cairns Festival’s Grand Parade and Fireworks the Far North’s most spectacular celebration of life in the tropics, but the popular attraction is also the largest event of its kind in Australia, attracting a record breaking 90 float entries in 2016. Fast fact; more people take part in Cairns Festival’s Grand Parade per capita than in any other national parade held around the country.
In 2016, it is anticipated that over 3,000 people and approximately 20 dogs will join the Festival’s much loved, 53rd annual procession that this year takes its cue from theme, “Colours of Us”. All the action takes place from 5.30pm on Saturday 27 August 2016 and culminates in spectacular fireworks that light up Trinity Inlet and the waterfront from 7.30pm.
With spectators gathering in their thousands, organisers are expecting 20,000 people will line the Esplanade to cheer on a creative collection of floats showcasing youth groups, schools, community organisations and businesses. Each and every entry is made with love and a big dose of imagination to reflect Cairns, its lifestyle and magical surroundings that define the community’s sense of place.
This year’s Grand Parade is set to be better than ever, following a series of fully-subscribed, free workshops which were held to help float makers take the production value of their floats to new and unprecedented levels of excellence. There is also an increased prize pool of $10,500 up for grabs, including a new $2000 design award sponsored by the Cairns Post.
Warming up the city in the lead up to the Grand Parade will be the Ukulele Festival’s Community Concert – destined to provide a festive prelude to the evening’s excitement and lighting up the Cairns Festival main stage with live entertainment throughout the afternoon.
Saturday’s festival goers should also be on the lookout for a fantastical array of roving entertainers that will work their way through the gathering throng from 3pm.
Cash prizes will be awarded in a total of six categories, including best overall entry ($3000), best school entry ($3000), Cairns Post best design ($2000), best non-motorised/pedestrian entry ($1000), best solo entry ($500), and Cairns Post people’s choice award ($1000).
Judges assess each float on three criteria, including how well the entry fits with the Festival theme, creativity and overall quality of the presentation, and the enthusiasm and spirit of float participants.
Now in its 55th year, Cairns Festival 2016 is a 10-day celebration (Friday 26 August to Sunday 4 September) of our tropical lifestyle with performances, exhibitions, music and film – proudly brought to the community by Cairns Regional Council.
Cairns Festival program, a full-colour listing of what’s on each day of the celebration, is available free of charge from Festival venues, libraries and shopping centres across the region, or download the program at www.cairnsfest.com.au
For more information, visit www.cairnsfest.com.au