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New Look for Festival Cairns


By Gwen O’Toole

Now in its 47th year, Festival Cairns 2009 has unveiled new managers and a reinvigorated, brighter and bolder event program.

For the first time in many years the festival event will be managed and directed by its founding organisation, Cairns Regional Council who, taking the cue from the year’s event theme ‘Telling Our Stories’ promise to start the festival with a bang and end of on a high over 16 eventful days from August 21 to Sunday September 6, 2009.

This year features a vibrant festival theme

Festival highlights, are to include a grand parade and Tropic Wave Festival with special guest headliner, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (one of the largest regional indigenous art fairs in Australia), Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival, Reggaetown and Father’s Day favourite, Carnival on Collins.

“Our new identity has been chosen to be a fun and fresh representation, symbolising the revitalisation of Festival Cairns and the vibrant new programming our in-house ‘Festival’ team is creating. While at the same time, being respectful to the city’s event tradition – dating right back to the original grand parade and Fun In the Sun,” said Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, Councillor Schier.

The opening of a new Green Island jetty on 26 May, 1962 was established as the first annual Cairns Tourist Festival, and renamed ‘Fun In The Sun’ the following year. Since then Tropical North Queensland’s most significant annual celebration, now in its 47th year, has experienced a number of changes including its re-launch in the early nineties as Reef Festival before its incarnation in 2002 as Festival Cairns.

According to Festival Cairns co-ordinator Belinda Griffin, this year’s look and theme have evolved from community engagement undertaken last year as part of Cairns’ new Regional Cultural Plan.

“Over 1000 members of the community gave us a good dose of local perspective on their thoughts about many issues, including Festival Cairns and this reinvention is our response to that feedback,” she said.

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