Festival-goers at the NYE recovery day at the Lismore Memorial Baths.
Festival-goers at the NYE recovery day at the Lismore Memorial Baths. Jacklyn Wagner

Tropical Fruits attracts thousands

LISMORE is a flutter with pink dollars after a hugely successful Tropical Fruits New Year Festival.

The four-day festival, from December 29 to January 2, attracted thousands of people to Lismore, many from outside the region.

“They came from all over Australia, America, Asia and England,” chairperson Shane Duniam said.

The event, costing $275,000 to stage, included a New Year’s Eve Party attended by 2800 people, a pool party attended by 700 and a recovery party attended by 1000. There were 18 countries represented at the Queer Fruits Film Festival, also held as part of the Tropical Fruits festivities.

About 400 campers pitched their tents at the Cattlemen’s Pavilion at the Lismore Showground, where much of the festival was held.

Lismore Chamber of Commerce board member Chandlers Lismore manager, Mic- hael Haddin, said he attributed strong post-Christmas sales to the event.

“We had one of our best after-Christmas years in years,” Mr Haddin said.

However, many retailers did not open during the festival period.

“They missed out on a lot of money,” Mr Haddin said.

Mr Duniam said international visitors had noticed the town was shutdown during the festival.

“They are used to 24-hour access, but they know they are coming to a regional centre,” he said.

Dragonfly manager Lisa Finlayson said New Year’s Day was their busiest on record.

The cafe sold 500 coffees and cracked open 900 eggs for the public holiday crowd.

Ms Finlayson said although it was a public holiday, businesses in Lismore should have opened their doors to take advantage of the extra trade.

Mr Duniam said he hoped CBD retailers would ‘step up to the plate’ for next year’s festival.

Lismore City Council manager of corporate services Simon Adcock said the council was supportive of the event.

“It brings a lot of people to Lismore and they spend a lot of money,” he said.

This year’s event was a huge financial success and organisers are now looking to acquire a permanent home for the festival.

“We have a very healthy bank account balance,” Mr Duniam said. “We are in talks with the showground people now.”

Mr Duniam said the Lismore Showground was the obvious place to establish a permanent home.



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