Maraka Festival planned for late October


INGHAM’S Maraka Festival will be held in the last two weeks of October, after being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.


Maraka’s Spokesperson, Kieran Volpe, advised that planning is well under way, with the preparation of each event now being finalised.


“In 2019, we marked our Diamond Jubilee – 60 years of Maraka. It took a global pandemic to break the tradition last year, however, we are back in 2021,” said Mr Volpe.


Mr Volpe stated that the festival has played a significant role in the history of Ingham and the wider Hinchinbrook Shire. 


“The festival was originally part of the Queensland Centenary Celebrations in 1959. All of the service clubs in the district, of which there was about ten, combined to put on a festival to mark the occasion. It was so successful, they decided to keep it going, and here we are 62 years later.”


Nowadays, the three remaining service clubs still combine forces to organise the festival. 


Maraka, an Aboriginal word for ‘Happy Gathering,’ promises to live up to its name in 2021, with two weeks of festivities planned, starting on Saturday, October 23, at the Wilmar Sugar Queen Presentation Night, held at the Herbert River Jockey Club, where the seven Maraka Queen entrants will be presented to the community for the first time. 


The following day, Sunday, October 24, both the Maraka Queen and the younger Maraka Princess entrants will be judged and presented at an intimate gathering at the Maraka Afternoon Tea at the Royal Hotel, sponsored by the Carey Group and Ingham Family Medical Practice. 


Tickets for both events are a must, in particular the Afternoon tea, which is a sell-out every year. 


Ticket sales will be presold for the Queen Presentation Night on Thursday, October 14 and 21, and can be purchased from the front of the Lisa Maree 2 shop from 9 am to 11 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays of October 12, 13, 19, and 20. 


Tickets for the Afternoon Tea will be available for purchase on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, October 12, 13, 19, and 20, from in front of the Royal Hotel. No tickets will be available for sale at the event.


Saturday, October 30, is the big celebration, and includes the Pet Parade, Kids Fence Painting Competition, a Street Procession, and Mardi Gras, which will all take place throughout the day.


“The last Saturday is always a huge day for Maraka – it is the culmination of the entire Maraka event. The kids have a blast on Saturday morning at the Ingham Showgrounds with the Fence-painting and Pet Parade, which have kindly been sponsored by Ingham Manufacturers Mitre 10 and Tropical Vet Services,” Mr Volpe said. 


This is followed later in the afternoon by the Street Procession sponsored by Ergon Energy and HSC, which takes place around Hebert Street. Straight afterwards, the NQIB sponsored Mardi-Gras will be held in Rotary Park. The Park will be filled with food stalls, amusement stalls, and children’s rides. The Maraka Bar, which is sponsored this year by Townsville Lime & Gypsum, will be open and live entertainment will be provided on the Maraka Stage from local schools and organisations. There will be a fireworks’ display this year, sponsored by BakeHouse on Central, as well as the culmination of this year’s Maraka Queen Quest sponsored by Royal Hotel, the crowning of the 2021 Maraka Queen.


Mr Volpe said that the festival is aimed at the locals.


“Maraka is unashamedly a locals’ event. We celebrate everything Hinchinbrook. The Entertainment is local, the food stalls are local, and all profits from the festival are being funnelled back into the community. Having said that, we’d love to see people from out of town come to Ingham for the night and see what it’s all about.”

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