FESTIVAL FUN: Cr's Jan Clifford and Kevin Collins, Mark Riley, Reef Festival committee members Margie Murphy and Stacy Harvey, Lani Murphy, Presley Cranson and Mia Murphy (back) and Jahla Thompson, Indi Manley, Lily and Ted Taylor, Coby and Cooper Barker, Madison Cranson, Bella Manley, Liam Steen and Lucas Allen-Fancke (front), are all excited about the 2013 Whitsunday Reef Festival.
FESTIVAL FUN: Cr's Jan Clifford and Kevin Collins, Mark Riley, Reef Festival committee members Margie Murphy and Stacy Harvey, Lani Murphy, Presley Cranson and Mia Murphy (back) and Jahla Thompson, Indi Manley, Lily and Ted Taylor, Coby and Cooper Barker, Madison Cranson, Bella Manley, Liam Steen and Lucas Allen-Fancke (front), are all excited about the 2013 Whitsunday Reef Festival.

PARTY TIME AT REEF FESTIVAL

RECORD numbers for the Rotary Street Parade, a massive street party in Airlie Beach and music's man-of-the-moment Timomatic are just some of the exciting elements of the 2013 Whitsunday Reef Festival which starts tonight.

The festival kicks off tonight with a comedy gala at the Coral Sea Resort.

Tomorrow's entertainment includes the Frocktails fashion event at Deja Vu restaurant, the Porters fireworks display on the Airlie Beach foreshore and a main street party featuring Whitsunday DJ's the Miller Brothers and a high energy show by Timomatic.

Saturday starts with the Bendigo Bank sand sculpting competition, followed by the Great Whitsunday Fun Race, Rotary wearable art awards, Rotary street parade and a huge street party with live music to celebrate the rebirth of the Airlie main street.

Sunday's events include the Telstra Family Fun Day, Schweppes recyclable regatta at the lagoon and Finding Nemo at the starlight cinema at Port of Airlie.

Reef Festival chairperson Margie Murphy said there were more entries for this year's street parade than ever before with the 2013 "heart of the reef" theme proving popular.

Reef Festival committee member and main street co-ordinator Stacy Harvey said the committee had worked closely with Council and Probuild, to ensure this year's festival would be "something different".

"Although the [main] street is not finished and there will be areas that are fenced for safety reasons, a lot of the fencing will be gone [and] it will be a great way for people to enjoy the new-look street," she said.

Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney will cut a ribbon shortly before the street parade at 4pm on Saturday as a 'soft opening' for the Airlie main street, which will be open to two-way traffic once the festival finishes.

The main street will be closed to traffic from 3pm on Friday until 6am on Sunday. The bus stops outside Hogs Breath and Cactus Jacks will not be operating from midday on Friday. Throughout the weekend buses will stop at Waterson Way and outside Mangrove Jacks instead.

Ms Murphy said the whole town was "abuzz" with anticipation for the weekend and she thanked everyone involved in the event. See pages 10, 11 and Chill in today's paper for more information.


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