Big weekend proves a huge success

WORTH THE EFFORT: Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival volunteer Leonie Gates with committee members Carol Stacey and Pam Steel. The event attracted thousands of people to Ballina and the organisers will do it all again next year.
WORTH THE EFFORT: Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival volunteer Leonie Gates with committee members Carol Stacey and Pam Steel. The event attracted thousands of people to Ballina and the organisers will do it all again next year.

THOUSANDS of people were out and about on the weekend, enjoying the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival, the Ballina Boat and Leisure Show, the Annual Great Duck Race and the North Coast Fishing Bonanza.

The town was alive with activity, and music festival organiser Carol Stacey said it was great to see.

"It's been fantastic," she said.

"Ballina was busy everywhere - I've spoken to retailers and they are all very happy because the town has been buzzing.

"It is just magic to see people with smiles on their faces and enjoying themselves.

"We'll definitely be doing it all again next year."

Meanwhile, boat show co-ordinator Duncan Woodhead said their event had been a huge success for Marine Rescue Ballina.

"We had 3359 people through the gates over the two days," he said.

"That is well up on last year, so we are pleased.

"We were lucky with the weather and we had some great new additions this year with the steam-train rides for kids, face painting and great stall-holders.

"At this stage we're not sure how much money we raised - we are still counting."

The Rotary Club of Ballina's Annual Great Duck Race, in its 20th year, attracted 142 corporate ducks.

Fastest duck was Phillip Johns Hairdressing, while the Best Dressed Duck was Riverside Clothing Alterations. Highly commended awards went to BG Accountants and Newcastle Permanent.

Following the corporate ducks, 1000 community ducks took to the water.

First place went to Kay Poulos and Sandy Thorne, second prize to John Flanagan and A Ballance, and third went to Len Rix and Peta Crawford.

Event co-ordinators Bruce Bevan and Gary Faulks said it was likely the event raised more than $10,000, which will be distributed to Rotary charities.

In the North Coast Fishing Bonanza, winners included Andrew McLennen in the kingfish category with his catch measuring 125.6cm.

Rowan Teece won the flathead category with a fish measuring 94.8cm, and Robert Graham caught a 43cm whiting, while Jay Huxley won the snapper (83.5cm) and pearl perch (59.5cm) categories.

Organiser Michael Starkey said 250 individual competitors took part in the fishing extravaganza.


More photos from Ballina's Big Weekend on Pages 10 and 22

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