Goolwa will be cruising again on the February 21-22 weekend with the 14th biennial South Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
It embraces the magnificent spirit among wooden boat owners and everyone who has shared their dream – and they converge from overseas and across Australia.
More than 30,000 people are expected to cover the Goolwa Wharf precinct for two days of festivity culminated by the grand parades of wooden boats of all ages, shapes and sizes and perhaps none more grand than the spectacular paddle steamers headed by our own Oscar W. It will be a magnificent sight.
A flotilla of historic wooden boats covered in fairy lights will cover the Murray Saturday night from 8.30, with a huge fireworks display from the Hindmarsh Island Bridge from nine.
It will be two days of family entertainment, including displays, bands, speedboat and rowing demonstrations and even the experience of building your own wooden boat, but for the purists – and what this festival actually represents – the unquestionable highlight will be walking along the wharf and getting a close up of nearly 200 wooden boats.
This brush with history comes with meeting the owners and discovering what each boat is all about. It’s not a festival about people, but wooden boats, and there is a fabulous yarn with each of them shared by one and all.
The festival begins on the Saturday with a speedboat demonstration at 9.30am, with the official opening at noon. The first of the grand parades will feature those affectionately known as ‘putt putts’ and boats less than 30ft, followed by those greater than 25ft.
The festival closes with the now traditional grand parade finale featuring all of the boats from 4pm. One-by-one they will cruise past thousands lined-up along Goolwa Wharf for a grand salute. Once again it will be a spectacular sight.
Adding to the atmosphere will be performances by acclaimed musicians, The Baker Suite, on Saturday from 3pm, and Nuvo, an eight-piece Afro-Carribian party ensemble from 6.45.
The SA Wooden Boat Festival is undoubtedly the feature event of our amazing coastline, and offers something for everyone. It is a celebration of wooden boat history.
Among the numerous guests will be Michael Minogue, who worked for one of Australia’s most-revered boat builders, Lars Halvorsen & Sons for more than 20 years, and Tony McKay, who will be representing the Australian Halvorsen Club and will present a technical talk.
The SA Wooden Boat Festival is presented by the Alexandrina Council.
Ticket information: Entry fee for the South Australian Wooden Boat Festival will be $10 for an adult weekend pass – children 15 and under free. More information: contact festival office 1300 466 592, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.woodenboatfestival.com.au
Image: Goolwa Wharf: David Hancock – www.stockoz.com