28 August 2019
Cassowary Festival for Mission Beach - naturally!
It’s on again! The big bird of Mission Beach will be celebrated with a festival on Saturday 21st September. In its third year, the Mission Beach Community Cassowary Festival promises to be another hit as the local community gears up to celebrate the Cassowary or ‘Gunduy’ as is known in local Djiru language.
"The cassowary is the most important tourism attraction we’ve got at Mission Beach” said Eveleyn Swarbrick, manager of Mission Beach Business and Tourism, “It is only fitting we celebrate it with a festival”. It’s great to see a committee of dedicated community members motivated so strongly by how much they identify with the cassowary at Mission Beach” said Evelyn.
The colourful event is being held at beachside Ulysses Park, a short walk from the Mission Beach Village. Being the first week of the school holidays, a large attendance is expected.
A day packed full of activities and entertainment for young and old is being planned promoting the branding 'Mission Beach - naturally'. The community is busy working on their creations for the spectacular Drumming of Cassowaries parade. Prizes will be awarded for the best costume.
The Stripeys Tent will offer free art and craft workshops, while on stage a great line up of local musicians will entertain with their individual blends of music including original, nature inspired themes and local performers.
Road signs created by the local school kids will be placed on the access roads to Mission Beach, during the festival period, alerting drivers to watch out for cassowaries.
“It’s wonderful to watch the cassowary festival grow in popularity” said local gallery owner Hilary Watson. “By celebrating the beauty and relaxed place we live in, visitors will be encouraged to spend a bit more time, and enjoy a genuine nature and community experience”.
Committee member Liz Gallie said “Mission Beach is the Cassowary Capital so we would like it to become known as a ‘Slow Down Town’ “. “Slow down and watch out for cassowaries on your way and slow down when you get here”. “There are benefits for both the cassowary and business.” “By staying a little longer there is so much for visitors to experience at Mission Beach including the best chance of seeing a cassowary in the wild” said Liz.
The committee is hoping to raise enough funds to complete cassowary corridor mapping for Mission Beach. “When the local area plan was developed for Mission Beach, only half of the mapping was completed “ said Liz Gallie. “Which means a large area of Mission Beach does not have cassowary corridors identified in our local Planning Scheme.
Environment groups from across the region will have displays promoting the work they do. Market and food stalls will offer a wide range of local products.
Well known Daintree River tour guide, photographer and artist, David White, will join a line up of guest speakers on the stage for a forum on sustainability David’s ‘Wasted Art’ sculpture rubbish bin, created with funds from a CCRC RADF grant will installed in the park highlighting the importance of how we deal with our waste.
David White congratulated the organising committee for holding a festival to celebrate the natural beauty and wildlife. “ Through appreciation comes protection” said David. “To protect our wildlife we have to think about our waste and where it goes. Rubbish art gets people’s attention and makes them think.”
Peter Salleras. a third generation farmer in the region who has embraced innovative and progressive farm practices will also join the panel for the forum . “We’ve learned a lot over time”. Peter said. “We do make mistakes but we are getting a lot right too” “We are more productive, on a smaller footprint and have made it easier for ourselves as a farming enterprise”.
Several events will be held in the lead up to the main festival day including a play by Laurie Trott called ’To Kill a Cassowary’; the launch of a new video for the Mission Beach school kid’s song ‘Mission Beach naturally – a Special Place’ created by internationally celebrated wildlife photography duo Juergen and Stella Freund made possible with a CCRC RADF grant; and the screening of ‘Dino Bird’, a National Geographic documentary filmed in Far North Queensland following the life a female cassowary.
The full program of events and the cassowary corridor fundraiser can be found on www.cassowaryfestival.com
For more information contact;
Mission Beach Cassowary Festival Committee
0414 402 315
David White Solar Whisper River Cruises
0439 983 100
Peter Salleras, Fruit Forest Farm
0429 194 710
0417 966 965
Stella and Juergen Freund
0439 793 710
Evelyn Swarbrick. Mission Beach Tourism