From its official opening featuring a presentation from acclaimed conservationist Tim Flannery, to the Blessing of the Fleet on August 12, the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival on August 13, the Whale Festival Parade and Concert on August 19 and the Paddle Out for Whales on August 20 – it is a celebration not to be missed.
Martin Simons, General Manager for Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said this year's Ocean Festival, presented by USC was shaping up to be a fantastic time for the region.
“Once again a fabulous program of events has been arranged providing a great drawcard for locals and visitors alike,'' Mr Simons said.
“The event continually grows in popularity with people enjoying fresh local seafood and great entertainment. The event also highlights important conservation messages needed to sustain the famous humpback whale migration patterns so beneficial to our region.
“We would like to congratulate Professor Tim Flannery, the 2007 Australian of the Year, who will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from USC for his exemplary leadership in advocating for the environment.
“We are extremely pleased to have a supporter with the gravitas of the USC, which has come on board this year as a major sponsor of the festival,'' Mr Simons said.
Professor Flannery's honorary award ceremony will take place at the Hervey Bay Beach House Hotel from 4-5pm on August 11 where he will deliver a public address on the social and economic opportunities of a carbon-negative future.
Further Event HighlightsBlessing of the Fleet (Saturday August 12): The Fraser Coast's famous fleet of whale watch boats will be blessed in a centuries-old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season.
Visitors can tour the many whale watch vessels, wander through market stalls packed with locally made arts and crafts, enjoy a sail past and watch the fabulous fireworks and live entertainment.
Hervey Bay Seafood Festival (Sunday August 13): The following day, August 13, offers something for all tastes. Hosted by the local industry, the event serves up a host of fresh and delicious wild-caught ocean produce, loads of entertainment, competitions, cooking and fish catching tips and much more at Fishermen's Park, Urangan Boat Harbour.
Highlights of this year's Seafood Festival include a bumper artistic, music and cultural program with performances by 8 Ball Aitken, Night Kite and The Dennis Sisters plus the chance to win a gate prize of hand-crafted earrings thanks to long-time festival supporters Haigh's Jewellery.
Other tasty morsels include cooking demonstrations from leading chefs including Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, seafood and fish-smoking masterclasses, a prawn eating competition, sideshow alley and loads of freebies.
Don't miss the eclectic work of regional artists at Art in the Park including Butchulla art and weaving displays and the amazing recycled metal creations of Bundaberg-based sculptor John Olsen – new to this year's program.
Whale Parade and Concert (Saturday August 19): Be enchanted by the colourful display of lights and floats representing the humpback's annual migration, followed by a fabulous free concert with leading Australian and local artists on August 19. This year's event has a Beach Party theme, so bring your beach ball and sarong to get in on the fun.
Paddle Out for Whales (Sunday August 20): This conservation and awareness-based event on August 20 is full of heart with visitors encouraged to jump aboard a paddleboard, kayak or boat to celebrate a love of whales in the whale-watching capital of the world. Enjoy a fun family day complete with Hawaiian dancing workshops, sand sculpting with Dennis Massoud and much more.
More Information: For full event information including times and the many further events that play part of the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival calendar, please head to oceanfestival.com.au.