IN MEMORY: Ballina Prawn Festival’s raft races will be held in honour of Las Balsas navigator Gabriel Salas.
IN MEMORY: Ballina Prawn Festival’s raft races will be held in honour of Las Balsas navigator Gabriel Salas.

Ballina Prawn Festival will go ahead rain, hail or shine

RAIN, hail or shine - today's Ballina Prawn Festival will go ahead no matter what the weather brings.

Event organiser Nadia Eliott-Burgess said there was plenty of undercover space at the Missingham Park site, and people should not be deterred by a few showers.

"Obviously we hope the weather will hold up, but if not, that won't stop us," she said.

"We've put in hundreds and hundreds of hours to make this festival a success and we really want people to come along and enjoy the day.

"We have 300sqm of beer and wine gardens under cover, there's an undercover playground and lots of sheltered areas.

"In a 12-hour festival you can get four seasons in one day.

"So we're telling people, bring your swimmers, bring a jumper, bring a brolly, but don't miss out.

"That's the important thing to remember about community festivals - you need to use it or lose it."

This year the Prawn Festival's raft races will be held in honour of Las Balsas navigator Gabriel Salas, who died last month in a Madrid hospital from liver failure.

The Chilean scientist was one of only two people to have ever crossed the Pacific Ocean twice on a raft - once, in 1970, and then again on the Las Balsas voyage in 1973, which ended at Ballina.

The 14,000km journey took 179 days and was the first and only known multiple-raft crossing of the Pacific Ocean in recent history and is the longest-known raft voyage in history.

The inaugural Ballina Prawn Festival in 2013 was held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the crossing.

"We'll be dedicating the raft races in Gabriel's honour," she said.

FESTIVAL FUN

The Prawn Festival kicks off with a grand parade at 9am today, and ends with a fireworks display at 8.30pm

For a full program visit http://www.ballinaprawnfestival.com.au

Parking is available at the Kingsford Smith football field for $2



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