Local sports in the one spot
NOW in its third year, the Whitsunday Sports Expo continues to grow in stature.
The expo, being held on Saturday at the Cannonvale State School hall from 9am-11am, brings the bulk of the region's sporting clubs and associations to the one place.
The brainchild of Whitsunday Sportspark chairman Justin Butler, the annual event is now one of the major highlights on the local sporting calendar.
"I've always been about getting more kids and adults playing sport,” Mr Butler said.
"We want them active instead of staring at screens all day.
"We had five marquee sports based at the Sportspark, but the aim of the expo was about trying to help out all sporting clubs across the Whitsundays region.
"Because Airlie Beach turns over a lot of residents, we wanted to provide a place for people to go and work out what sports are available, when and what the costs associated are.
"To get everyone in the one central place has just been fantastic.”
Mr Butler said the expo had expanded in popularity, not just with the public, but when it came to support of the sporting clubs and associations.
"The first one at the PCYC attracted about 500-600 people and we had a large number of sporting clubs involved,” he said.
"That number grew in the second year and we'll probably have about 25-30 exhibitors on the day.”
Mr Butler said sporting clubs from Airlie Beach, Proserpine and surrounding areas would have stalls supplying the things people needed to know.
"Probably 75 per cent of people who attend the expo are parents who brings their kids along,” he said.
"We see families where they might have two kids and one tears off looking for a team sport and the other heads in the other direction looking for a non-team sport.
"It's a great opportunity in a relaxed atmosphere for parents to meet club officials and get the information they are looking for.”
The beauty of the expo is the wide range of sports on offer. The major codes such as rugby league, football, rugby union, netball and Australian rules are there, along with the likes of taekwondo, sailing, touch football and swimming.
The team from the Whitsunday Sportspark runs the event and Mr Butler said they played a major role in answering any inquiries.
"We greet them at the door and point them in the right direction,” he said.
Mr Butler added he was more than happy to have discussions with people interested in establishing new sports in the Whitsundays.
"If someone came to us and said softball or basketball was our passion, and they would like to get an association together, we would be prepared to support them,” he said.
"The more active people can be, the better.
"We want to encourage people of all ages to play sport and the beauty of the Whitsundays is that there's plenty of sports in the area.”
Entry to the expo is free to everyone.