FESTIVAL FLAIR: Joscelyn O'Keefe and Roxanne Bowden (left and right) from the Coral Sea Marina Resort and Heather Batrick (centre) from the Great Barrier Reef Festival preparing for the festival's new lantern parade event.
FESTIVAL FLAIR: Joscelyn O'Keefe and Roxanne Bowden (left and right) from the Coral Sea Marina Resort and Heather Batrick (centre) from the Great Barrier Reef Festival preparing for the festival's new lantern parade event. Sharon Smallwood

Lanterns to light up the Reef

FORESHORE fireworks aren't the only event setting Great Barrier Reef Festival off to an illuminating start.

New to the festival program for 2019 is the Coral Sea Marina Resort Lantern Parade.

Two lantern-making workshops will be hosted by the festival and marina teams.

Adults can get creative first, with a lantern-making session at Lure on Wednesday, July 24, from 6pm to 8pm.

Led by local artists Anita Pender and Liz Knight, the session is free to attend and includes a glass of bubbles on arrival as well as the option to order cheese platters from the downstairs Garden Bar.

Children can get crafty at a lantern- making stall at the Cannonvale State School Fete on Sunday, July 28.

Materials including LED lights will be provided free at both events, with only a gold coin donation required to participate.

Participants will get to show off their creations on the evening of Friday, August 2, with first, second and third prizes awarded to the best lanterns made.

Judging will take place at the Garden Bar at 4.30pm, with the winner announced prior to the parade at 6pm.

Anyone without a lantern can buy one from a pop-up stall on site and join the parade of lights.

The lantern procession will make its way through the marina resort precinct, down the Bicentennial Boardwalk and into Airlie Beach.

Here it will join the festivities of night markets, carnival rides and food stalls, ahead of the Whitsunday Coast Airport Fireworks by the Foreshore.

Festival chairwoman Margie Murphy said the lantern parade was a fitting addition to one of the biggest nights of the year on the Whitsunday calendar.

"Through this festival we try to connect the reef to the shore and community in as many ways as possible, so expanding the Friday night activities to incorporate the marina resort precinct and boardwalk is a perfect fit,” Ms Murphy said.

Coral Sea Marina Resort marketing and business development manager Joscelyn O'Keefe said there were endless possibilities for lanterns to be reef-themed.

"Feel free to get creative and think outside the box about how you can shine a light on the evening and the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms O'Keefe said.

"This is a great opportunity to get the message out there that the reef is beautiful, and people are putting a lot of hard work into keeping it that way.”

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said the lantern parade was another event that would showcase the coastal beauty of Airlie Beach and its position on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef.

"Our Whitsunday winters are a beautiful time of year to walk the boardwalk at night and catch the sunset from the marina resort precinct,” Mrs Wheeler said.

The 2019 Great Barrier Reef Festival from August 1-4 is proudly supported by Cruise Whitsundays.

For more information, visit www.greatbarrierreef festival.com.au or follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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