The inaugural Cassowary Festival has been hailed as a huge success by the Mission Beach community. The Drumming of Cassowaries parade was a big hit with giant colourful cassowary sculptures, Cassowary Wardens carrying signs the school kids designed to help cassowaries cross roads safely and members of the local Belly dancers group dressing in bright red black and blue costumes touring through the Mission Beach village before being paraded through the festival to the entertainment marquee. Mission Beach was abuzz with businesses reporting a good day with all the extra visitors in town. Ï have never seen so many cars lining the road" commented one long time local.
Throughout the day, a constant crowd visited the large marquee where information was shared by representatives of local environment and wildlife groups at their displays. Visitors enjoyed non stop entertainment on the stage from talented local musicians and listened to messages sent from politicians and celebrities during the Thank You ceremony which included Peter Garrett and the Threatened Species Commissioner. The MC was kept busy with Open Mic where the community was encouraged to participate on stage. Children had a great time creating art and crafts all day long at the Stripeys tent.
On behalf of Mission Beach Tourism, festival coordinator Liz Gallie said "It was a fun family event with the strong message for the day that the cassowary is not only important for the environment but also to our community and economy. "We encourage visitors to come to Mission Beach for a slow down time. Stay a little longer, relax and experience Mission Beach - naturally".
A big part of the success of the event was the collaboration, diversity and expertise of the community groups represented on the steering committee. Next years event is already in the planning. "We want to make the Mission Beach Community Cassowary Festival an annual event" commented Liz, "reinforcing Mission Beach with a strong identity as the Cassowary Capital. Visitors come to Mission Beach to enjoy the natural beauty with the cassowary as a major draw card. We will be looking at expanding the events to be held over a week to allow more businesses to participate in the festivities".
People traveled from around the region to help celebrate the day with one couple from the Gold Coast visiting for several days especially for the festival.
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