HAPPY NEW YEAR: There was a big crowd for the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays at Whitsunday Sailing Club on New Year's Eve.
HAPPY NEW YEAR: There was a big crowd for the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays at Whitsunday Sailing Club on New Year's Eve. Monique Preston

Fireworks usher in the New Year

WHITSUNDAY residents and visitors turned out in their droves to ring in the New Year with fireworks displays in Airlie Beach on Monday night.

A free community event was held at the Whitsunday Sailing Club for the first time, with fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight the highlights of the evening.

Whitsunday Sailing Club venue manager Stacy Harvey estimated about 2000 people attended the event throughout the evening.

The earlier part of the night saw plenty of families with young children pack out the lawns in front of the club, with food vans and glowing balloons contributing to a carnival-like atmosphere.

Bands and DJs also provided plenty of music to dance in the New Year.

About 200 people also dined upstairs in the club that evening.

Most of the families with young children left after the early fireworks, but were soon replaced by a mainly older crowd who stayed on for the later pyrotechnics display, while enjoying drinks and music.

Even rain just before the midnight fireworks did little to dampen the crowd's spirits, with the rain stopping just in time for the fireworks display to start.

Miss Harvey was pleased with how the night went.

"It was a great night,” she said.

"It's the first time we've hosted it and we're absolutely thrilled with the turnout.”

Miss Harvey said the event attracted both locals and tourists to the area and she was pleased with the behaviour of those who attended.

"The crowd behaviour was really good,” she said.

Meanwhile, Whitsunday Police were also happy with how the night went, with no street-violence related arrests.

One person who was staying on a boat was arrested for being drunk in town, while a 20-year-old man from Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast was arrested after testing positive for drugs in his saliva while driving and possessing one cannabis joint when he was pulled over by police in Shute Harbour Rd at Airlie Beach.

Whitsunday Police Acting Senior Sergeant Barry Haran said police also conducted about 150 random breath tests on New Year's Eve and early New Year's Day and only caught two alleged drink drivers in Cannonvale and Airlie Beach.

The first was a 31-year-old Woodwark man who allegedly blew 0.123 when he was stopped by police on Paluma Rd, Cannonvale, at 6pm on Monday.

The second was a 20-year-old Cannonvale woman who allegedly recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.131 when she was stopped by police in Waterson Way, Airlie Beach at 1.56am on Tuesday.

Police also fined three people for public nuisance and seven move-on directions were given to people in Airlie Beach.

A 49-year-old NSW man was also stopped by police on Hamilton Island for allegedly drink driving a buggy at 12.50am on Monday.

Police said the man was blood tested for drink driving, but the results were not back yet.


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