2020 vision will make festival Gladstone's biggest event
ORGANISERS of the Gladstone Region 1770 Festival have been buoyed by the announcement of further funding for next year's 250th anniversary of Lieutenant James Cook's Landing.
The town's largest annual event was held for the 27th consecutive year and was one of the biggest yet, commemorating the long history of Agnes Water and the town of 1770.
But one of the biggest highlights of this year's festivities was the commitment made by Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett to give $150,000 for next year's celebrations.
He also said he had written to the National Maritime Museum to ask that the replica Endeavour be anchored offshore at 1770 on the weekend of the event during its planned trip from Botany Bay to Cooktown.
"This year we invested $40,000 in the festival and about three years ago we allocated $10,000 a year for the next three years, and that's turned up now," he said.
"What we've announced is we want to invest $150,000 in the event next year, so we've included that in the draft budget because it's an important event that only comes around once every 250 years.
"If we can get the Endeavour here as close as possible to May24, that just makes sense."
Mayor Matt Burnett is hoping to add the stop to the already planned Gladstone stop.
The weekend's festival drew bumper crowds with Friday's re-enactment attracting numbers far surpassing expectations, with visitor numbers to the festival grounds also up.
The event featured the usual favourites, including Saturday's street parade and yesterday's fun run, with retired professional surfer Layne Beachley running workshops at the festival.
There was also an opportunity to celebrate the region's indigenous culture, with indigenous dance and a Welcome to Country adding to an action-packed and emotional official opening ceremony.
Festival volunteer Amber Rodgers said it was important to the town to celebrate its history and culture.
"It's one year until the 250th anniversary so we certainly had a lot bigger festival and a whole lot of excitement and community pride in what we're doing here," she said.
"It's like a country show with all the flavour Agnes Water and 1770 offers.
"So many of the businesses have given a great commitment in therms of financial support and in kind support."
Amber said the funding for next year provided an opportunity to deliver an "absolutely phenomenal" event in 2020.