Queen Elizabeth’s representative for Queensland has given Cooktown and its annual Discovery Festival the royal thumbs up after visiting the Cape over the weekend.
Her Excellency, the Honourable Jeannette Young and her husband Graeme Nimmo were eager participants.
They joined thousands of people for the celebrations.
Highlights of the weekend were the markets, with hundreds flowing through the stalls over the weekend, the street parade, inaugural 4×4 muster, the sunset soiree and fireworks, all capped off by the reenactment on Sunday morning.
Her Excellency said the Queensland Ballet workshops and the Barefoot Ballerinas performance at the soiree were a favourite.
“I absolutely adore ballet, but don’t think I’ll get out my pointe shoes; my ankles probably aren’t up to it,” she joked.
The Governor posed for photographs and chatted with locals throughout the festival, with several local health service staff offering heartfelt thanks for her leadership as Queensland’s chief health officer during the pandemic.
Acting eastern director of nursing and midwifery Liz Wheatley said it was an honour to host the Governor.
“We were proud and grateful Her Excellency took the time to visit our region and meet with staff who have worked incredibly hard to help keep the community safe,” she said.
“It can be hard for people who do not live in remote areas to understand the additional challenges we face, particularly during a pandemic, so we truly appreciate her support.”
Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott praised the community for rolling out the red carpet.
“We are so incredibly proud of how the town, council teams, and our whole community really came together to showcase and celebrate the festival’s themes of history, adventure and culture,” he said.
“We are already looking ahead to next year’s event. With the success of last year’s Cook town and Cape York Expo still fresh in our memories, plus the fact that 2023 is the 150 year anniversary of Cooktown being founded, there is so much to consider.”
More than 1500 people filled William Daku Park for the sunset soiree, enjoying performances by Hope Vale’s Bare foot Ballerina troupe, children’s entertainment, a bicycle stunt show, the Lakeland based Red Valley Tongan dance troupe and the 1RAR Army band, with fire works over the Endeavour River as a finale.
Market stall holder Gavin Crane travelled from Babinda with his popular recycled pallet furniture, and was sold out in just over a day.
“It was great to chat with everyone and be part of the festival – what a great community,” he said, vowing to return.
There were 20 entrants in the street parade, including four local schools, the 1RAR Army brass band and numerous rally cars travelling through town.
Best in parade went to the Cooktown Kindergarten, best community group was the Yuku Baja Muliku Junior Rangers, best school was Cooktown State School, best individual was Colleen Graham and runner up community group was Barrier Reef Childcare.
The inaugural Cape York Utes and 4×4 Muster, held as part of the festival, was a hit with both the crowd and participants.
Organiser Lauren Bowyer said the hundreds watching the street parade loved the noise and excitement.
“The cars looked a treat, and really added to the atmosphere, revving up and showing off in the parade,” she said.
With more than 20 entrants and $16,000 in cash and prizes, Ms Bowyer said she was already planning for 2023.
People’s choice winner was Nina Kaye, best hunting rig was Sam Sciacca, best ladies’ rig went to Veronica Salvemini, best classic rig was taken by Ken White, best flex by Raymond Fitzgerald, roughest rig went to Cain O’Doherty and best street ute was won by Ray Irvin.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 21 June 2022.