Parade is back with new sponsors, set to be bigger than ever
GLADSTONE - we have our parade back and we have the crew at Workforce International to thank for it.
Floats from across the community will once again head down Goondoon St during the opening of the Gladstone Harbour Festival on April 13.
After seeing The Observer's story on Tuesday, Workforce International realised how important the parade was to the community and stepped in to save the day.
The Gladstone company will provide all the manpower and signs from the beginning to the end of the parade.
The sponsorship is estimated to be about $6000, as its staff are all fully trained and qualified, taking away the need for as many police and SES members.
But Gladstone Festivals and Events says the help is invaluable to them, as the parade wouldn't have happened without it.
Before announcing the parade was back on, GFE contacted previous float entrants and at least 90% were excited to get on board again.
All parties involved have come together and are really supporting it.
Workforce International supervisor Mark Lofthouse said the company knew the festival was happening but didn't realise the plight of the parade until this week.
"We saw it in the paper and had a discussion," he said.
"We thought we could do something to help."
Regional manager Robert Hope said it was a community event that everyone talked about.
"People were saying it was a shame it wasn't going ahead; that was a no-brainer for us," he said.
"We're the only truly local traffic company in town.
"I think that's proven with the guys putting their hands up to volunteer their time."
Angie Bettridge from GFE said it was an amazing act of community spirit.
"They've made all of the difference, by coming on board and doing the traffic management," she said.
"All parties involved have come together and are really supporting it."
She said they didn't want it to be half the parade it used to be, so GFE rang around past entrants to gauge their enthusiasm.
Rotary Midday Gladstone president Mark Frost said he was pleased to see the parade go ahead for the community.
"We just didn't have the resources and we needed the qualified people to do the traffic controlling," he said.
"We'll be there too, marshalling at the start and marshalling for the finish."
Rotary Midday secretary Adele Hughes said it was exciting to keep the parade going.
"You need a parade for a festival," she said. "We're absolutely thrilled."
Big prize floated
FESTIVAL fever is about to hit town as Gladstone gears up for one of the biggest and brightest Harbour Festival parades the city has ever seen.
The annual street parade will once again get the show on the road as the opening event for this year's Gladstone Harbour Festival.
The street parade begins from 4pm on Sunday, April 13.
It will roll down the streets of Gladstone, with this year's Colourful Carnival theme offering $15,000 in prize money to three lucky winners and an encouragement award, which is judged on participation, theme and creativity.
Beginning at the Gladstone Showgrounds, the parade will bring the streets alive as it makes its way through Goondoon St over to the marina and finishes at the Mission to Seafarers building.
Gladstone Festival and Events co-ordinator Angie Bettridge said whether walking on your hands or on your feet, cycling, in a motorised vehicle or float, all businesses, schools, bands, groups and clubs could register to participate in the festival favourite.
"You spoke and we listened and by doing everything in our power and largely thanks to our kind sponsor, Workforce International, we have made it happen." she said.
"Now it is up to you.
"This is your community, this is your parade and this is your chance to be involved."
To take part in the festival, complete the entry form found on the Gladstone Festivals and Events website, http://www.gladstonefestival.com or for further information contact the festival hotline on 4972 5111.
- 1962 - One day Gladstone Harbour Festival began
- 2005 - GFE spent too much on big acts that weren't supported
- 2013 - Rio pulls sponsorship
- 2014 Jan - Parade cancelled due to regulations/costs
- March - Parade back on