Cairns Festival’s Grand Parade and Fireworks on Saturday 26 August provides an exciting start to the 2017 program. Our parade is the largest community showcase of its kind in Australia, per capita, and this year Cairns Festival celebrates its 56th year with the appropriately sparkling theme of “Shine”.
As Festival’s number one highlight, the Grand Parade attracts local families and visitors in their thousands who gather along the Esplanade to cheer on the colourful procession of floats representing local schools, charities, sporting clubs, cultural groups and businesses.
In 2016 the Parade featured a record breaking 90 entries, more than 3,000 participants and approximately 20 dogs that combined to mirror the lifestyle and magical surroundings that define the Far North community and its sense of place.
This year the Parade is destined to be even better thanks to a series of free, workshops hosted by Festival’s Parade team that focussed on lifting the production value of floats to new and unprecedented levels of excellence. Added motivation comes with a generous prize haul of $8,500.
Warming up the city in the lead up to Saturday’s Grand Parade will be free entertainment on the main stage along with roving performers throughout the afternoon.
Prior to the afternoon activities, the Esplanade will host the biennial Australian and New Zealand Steelband Festival PANZfest from 10am on the main Festival stage. Eight steel bands from across Australia and New Zealand will compete for the title of 2017 Panorama Champion throughout the morning, astounding audiences with sounds from the unique instruments originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Following the competition, the bands will unite under the musical direction of internationally acclaimed steelpan drummer Lennox Jordan from Aria Award winning Melbourne Ska Orchestra. The group will premiere a piece created for the Cairns Festival: 1.5 Climate Change.
The sounds of steel pans will echo throughout the night as the artists continue their performances following the conclusion of the Festival’s Grand Parade at 7.30pm.
Now in its 56th year, Cairns Festival 2017 is a 10-day celebration (Friday 25 August to Sunday 3 September) of life in the tropics with performances, exhibitions, music and film – proudly brought to the community by Cairns Regional Council.
The full Cairns Festival program can be downloaded from the Cairns Festival website, or pick up a copy from Council’s customer service centres, Cairns Libraries branches and local shopping centres.