MANGO MAGIC: Bowen shortlisted in nationwide festival search
FESTIVAL fever may be upon Bowen soon with the announcement that the beautiful coastal town has been short-listed in the finals of the 'Festival of Wot?' competition.
Bowen has been nominated to host a Festival of Mangoes, to help celebrate and appreciate the region's most iconic fruit.
Crew from Nine Network's's The Today Show were in town to announce the nomination, with live weather crossings highlighting all the wonders of the mango.
Bowen will be up against some strong competition, with three other regional towns making the shortlist.
A festival of redheads is proposed in Maryborough, QLD, a festival of snags in Mudgee, NSW, and a Festival of Wheat, Wool and Wine in Clare Valley, SA.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said he isn't worried by the competition though.
"I've had a look at the other festivals and what they're offering, and I think we will smoke them," he said.
"It's the most iconic, delicious fruit and it will be combined with the amazing beaches that Bowen and the region have to offer.
"It's a no-brainer, we just need the support of everyone to vote for us now."
The festival would be completely hosted in November by Wotif if Bowen was to be successful, and is decided by an online vote.
Jenn Honnery, Bowen Tourism and Business Chairman, said that they had some big mango based plans, along with traditional fun, if the festival gets the win.
Ideas included mango shot put, mango stomping, eating competitions, mango based art as well as what is sure to be a crowd favourite, mango daiquiris.
"The mango is all about the family, summer, beaches and delicious food," Ms Honnery said.
"And that is exactly what we think Bowen offers. It's the classic family holiday.
"The mango has a culture in Bowen and we want to help harvest that and make it even more synonymous with the area as we know our mangoes are the best in the world."
Daniel Finch, managing director of the Wotif Group, said he was pleased to see Bowen on the final shortlist for what he expects to be 'a very fun festival'.
He said that the mango appeals to almost everyone in the country, meaning the festival could draw in a very large crowd.
"It brings together farming and agriculture, as well as cooking and great food so it's really an all-inclusive theme," Mr Finch said.
"We want to see a town like Bowen become even more of a destination for people to check out."
He said that there was no excuse to not vote, with the process only taking around 30 seconds.
"All people have to do is go online to here and click on the festival they want to vote for. It's that simple," Mr Finch said.
"When people do that they also enter a draw for a $2000 Wotif travel voucher, for an added incentive."
Cr Willcox said now was the time for the people of Bowen to show their best sharing skills.
"Hop online and tell everyone you know," he said.
"Even if they've never been to Bowen let's get them thinking that a mango festival might be the perfect reason for them to come."
Voting is now open and will run until September 29. The winners will be announced on October 10.