River festival is set to double in size next year

THE Shoalhaven River Festival is set to grow into a two-day event for 2014.

Such was the success of October’s inaugural festival, steering committee chairperson Lynn Locke said next year the festival would flow into a second day.

While the festival will again include the street parade, markets, riverfront activities and concert and the popular fireworks, Mrs Locke said the marine expo, which was also a hit this year, would be expanded to include a boat show and run over two days.

The dates have already been announced for next year’s festival which will be staged on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26.

“Next year is going to be even bigger and better,” she said.

“We will expand to two days, with the second day being dedicated to a boat show on the eastern side of the bridge near the sailing club wharf.

“The pontoons placed in that area this year proved extremely popular and it has already gained legs and will be a stand-alone boat show on the Sunday of next year’s festival.

“We already have expectations of at least 50 to 60 boats being on show.”

Mrs Locke said there had also been the suggestion to run a fishing competition, involving all local clubs, and have the huge Shimano fish tank at the location at the same time.

Mrs Locke was again quick to praise all the committee who worked on this year’s festival, all the businesses that sponsored the event and the Shoalhaven community for embracing it.

She particularly praised Catherine Shields for all her support.

“I must thank all the sponsors who showed faith in us by backing the festival,” she said.

“All sponsorship, be it large or small, helped towards making the festival the success that it was.

“It would not have got off the ground if it hadn’t been for that support.

“The committee did an outstanding job, they really worked hard, while the many volunteers who came on board, even on the day of the festival, were outstanding.

“And of course the community’s support.”

Mrs Locke said she is still overwhelmed when she thinks about this year’s success.

“On the day of the festival when I looked up the street and saw all the people waiting for the parade, I just cried,” she said.

“It was a huge gamble putting it on but the area just totally embraced it.

“Even now I still have people coming up and saying what a great day it was.

“That’s why we are so determined to make next year even bigger and better.

“Nowra was screaming out for something like this and the way the community embraced it, hopefully it will be around for many years to come.

“Who knows, eventually it may even be able to expand to a weeklong city wide event with each area hosting something.”

And if you have any ideas for next year’s Shoalhaven River Festival, organisers would love to hear from you.

Suggestions can be left at the dedicated website www.shoalhaven riverfestival.com.au in the contact us section.

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