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Monday 6 August 2012

100 days til darkness

Today marks 100 days until the 14 November Total Solar Eclipse, an event which is expected to attract more visitors to the region than any in our history.

So what is being planned by the two local organisations who each received $40,000 in Council funding?

The Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce aim to deliver a Solar Eclipse Festival to bring the streets of Port Douglas to life over the period.

Chamber committee member Greg McLean will lead the team charged with delivering the festival that will hopefully lure visitors back to the region for years to come.

"It's a little bit like Carnivale where we'll look after some key events and we're trying to plug other events into it," Mr McLean said.

He said night markets and live music from local acts will run over three nights, and there are plans to close a section of Macrossan Street.

"We'll be consulting with retailers over the next week to see what their preference is because closing is not locked in but it's basically to provide a vibrant environment with food and entertainment."

A game of 'Foocket' where an AFL match and cricket match are played simultaneously on the same ground is being planned at the Port Douglas Sports Complex.

Port Douglas Event Management also received $40,000 to bring the Solar Eclipse Marathon to town with the intention of promoting an annual Great Barrier Reef Marathon to this year's international runners.

"That's one of the main things we'll be looking at in the next 100 days," PDEM's Bruno Bennett said. "That was always our focus, to turn this event into an annual event."

The 2011 Great Barrier Reef Marathon attracted 700 runners and organisers foresee a bright future where entries could number in the thousands.

While estimates vary, some sources have put visitor numbers to the region as high as 80,000 people.

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