The Plants Whitsundays crew won the best 'All Aboard for the Reef' theme category at the Rotary Street Parade.
The Plants Whitsundays crew won the best 'All Aboard for the Reef' theme category at the Rotary Street Parade. Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photogr

Winners announced from Rotary Street Parade

PLANES, boats and even King Neptune himself took a ride down the Airlie Beach main street on Saturday.

They were all there for the Whitsunday Reef Festival's main event - the Rotary Street Parade - lauded this year for being one of the best, as post-cyclone Debbie, local businesses and community members proved serious about supporting the theme, All Aboard for the Reef.

Rotary Street Parade organiser Merewyn Wright said the effort that had been put into the float entries this year was "excellent".

The Whitsunday Christian College decorated their school bus so it would look like a boat, complete with resplendent cardboard sails.

Skydive Airlie Beach decorated their van with a propellor on the front, and wings to the side, so it resembled a plane.

Sailability Whitsunday won the Best Not for Profit category at the 2017 Rotary Street Parade.
Sailability Whitsunday won the Best Not for Profit category at the 2017 Rotary Street Parade. Sharon Smallwood

Staff adorned themselves with pretend parachutes and enjoyed 'pretend' skydives.

And video media company, Th3rd Dimension Media, reenacted the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Men Tell no Tales, which took place around the Whitsundays, with the film released in May this year.

Plants Whitsunday manager Matt Stokes said it was "great fun" being in the street parade with about 12 of his colleagues and seeing all the smiling faces of the spectators.

Mr Stokes, who had been organising his float for the past month, said their goal was to make the crowds laugh.

"And I think we did that," he said.

"Last year we had a viking ship, so (this year) we retrofitted it into a game fishing boat."

The Plants Whitsunday float ensemble also included a mascot of a marlin, which "some people thought was a woodpecker" and "three guys in grass skirts and coconut bikinis," Mr Stokes said.

He said the marlin mascot, flown in especially from America, had a person inside the fish outfit who ran around cuddling spectators.

The winners of this year's street parade categories were: Best Business, Just Tuk'n'Around; Best Not-For-Profit, Sailability; Best 'All Aboard for the Reef' theme, Plants Whitsunday; Most unusual and wacky, JMae Costume and Vintage for Hire or Sale.

The parade was one element of the overall event that entertained more than 10,000 people over the entire weekend.

About 5000 people were wowed by the fireworks and festival events on Friday and popular three-piece electro-house and dance music group, The Potbelleez, drew a crowd of more than 2000 to Beats on the Beach on Saturday night.

Whitsunday Reef Festival Committee chairwoman Margie Murphy, said this year's festival had been "amazing", despite rainy weather on Sunday and the circus being in town at the same time.

"It was brilliant. The new (foreshore) location (for the stage) was very popular and was a great backdrop for the festival. It's amazing how many people pulled together," she said.

Just Tuk'n'Around won the Best Business category of the 2017 Rotary Street Parade
Just Tuk'n'Around won the Best Business category of the 2017 Rotary Street Parade Sharon Smallwood

Ms Murphy said she had been very proud of all the committee members and volunteers who had worked tirelessly to stage such a "good quality" event, especially after the cyclone which had come close to derailing this year's celebration.

She said work was not over for the festival administrators, who were this week finishing the clean-up and already beginning to think about next year's event.

With a committee of 12 and volunteer network of 30 - which include a total of two men - Ms Murphy said next year, the committee would be seeking to encourage more men to be involved.

Jmae Costume and Vintage for Hire or Sale won the most unusual and wacky category of the 2017  Rotary Street Parade.
Jmae Costume and Vintage for Hire or Sale won the most unusual and wacky category of the 2017 Rotary Street Parade. Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photogr

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