Fruitful festival: 2500 revellers and $5m brought to region
IN WHAT would otherwise be a quiet tourism time for Lismore, Tropical Fruits brings in an estimated $5 million to the local economy.
Organisers say the festival entertains about 5000 people, of which about 2500 are visitors from interstate and overseas.
It has come a long way from the relatively small and underground Tropical Fruits born in the late 1980s.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said there were several highlights this year that took the festival to a new level.
"This year one of the big changes was that Norpa got involved, bringing Alan Cumming to town and pairing two major nights of his performance at the city hall with the parade and the opening evening," she said.
"The thing we saw this year as well was that council, Lismore and Nimbin visitor information centres were actually in the parade with banners and I think that's an invitation to organisations in the future to get behind it and have a presence in the parade as well.
"I think it will continue to grow and many of the people who were here said this is what mardi gras in Sydney used to be like and so I think it's almost become the preferred event."
Cr Dowell said she estimated about 1000 people watched the 2015 Tropical Fruits opening parade.
"What I would really love to see in the parade are generations of people, grandparents with their children, all coming down," she said.
The festival itself spends $15,000 on promotion and marketing, which includes information about the region, encouraging visitors to explore and stay.