Rivafest plans taking shape

THE champagne flowed as exciting plans for this year's Ballina Rivafest event were unveiled at the festival's launch this week.

The community has been called on to help support the annual event, which will be held on November 30 and is expected to attract 10,000 people to the town.

Ballina Shire Council is providing $30,000 sponsorship, with the aim of getting another $50,000 in monetary and in-kind sponsorship from local businesses. The Northern Star is a major sponsor of Rivafest.

Mayor Phillip Silver said the festival provided economic and social benefits for the community.

“Every regional town is striving for a sense of community and Ballina council supports the festival for our community,” Cr Silver said.

“We don't strive to be just a tourist town or a retiree town, we strive to be a mixed, vibrant economy.”

Rivafest has helped achieve that, he said.

This year's event theme is 'Riva of Life', in celebration of the benefits the Richmond River provides to the community.

The festival will include a 'Little Critters Zone', a large area dedicated to kids, at the northern and of Lance Ferris Park.

Activities in the zone will include a reef science fish tank, a circus play space, arts and crafts, party games, small rides and a performance stage.

The 'Thrill Zone' will be at the river end of Cherry Street and will include carnival rides and a laser tag game.

On the main stage in Lance Ferris Park there will be stories of the river with indigenous dance performances and other live entertainment, including the flamboyant Samba Blisstas Carnivale Troupe and soul sister Lisa Hunt.

A new addition to this year's festival will be 'Regional Cuisine Eat Street', a designated food and beverage area showcasing regional cuisine from Ballina Shire restaurants and cafes. This will also include a signature dish competition.

On the river there will be a fire show with an ocean theme, including lanterns and fireworks.

“Rivafest brings together thousands of local residents with visitors from throughout the Northern Rivers and beyond,” festival organiser Liz Shepherd said.

“The vision for Rivafest is to create a unique community event that has the potential to attract visitors to the area in the long-term. We also aim to develop a strong sense of community pride and sense of place, and deliver real economic, social and cultural benefits to the community.”

To become a sponsor of the event, or for more information, call Liz Shepherd on 6686 1296.

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