Family friendly focus for NYE

The fireworks and music are back for the Merimbula’s New Year’s Eve party at Ford Park this year but the focus will be firmly on providing a family friendly event, organisers have said.

Graeme Wykes who ran Merimbula’s NYE parties for six year’s has returned to organise the 2018 event which will start and finish earlier although there will still be some fireworks at midnight.

“In 2018 the aim is to build a family festival out of the event, rather than simply fireworks alone, valuable for visitors to our region, and as well as wonderful for our entire Bega Valley Shire community,” Mr Wykes said.

“This event will encourage families to attend and stay for the whole festival, bringing chairs, and a picnic to enjoy the wonderful music, food, and markets, festive atmosphere, and of course the amazing fireworks.

“We are trying to develop this into a big festive day,” he said.

The festival will start at 12 noon and market stalls and food vendors will set up until 4.30pm, when the food vendor area will be closed off to the public, permitting stall holders to pack up. Some food and beverage stall holders will remain.

The concert will start at 5.30pm with a number acts including The Figmenz, Mojo and Alice Weibe. The major fireworks display will be at 9:30–9.40pm. Afterwards the area will be cleared and closed off for a clean-up.

There will be five minutes of high altitude fireworks at midnight viewable from the surrounding area.

“The vast majority of people leave after the 9.30pm fireworks and so there’s no real reason to keep it open until midnight. This also allows other venues to get some business afterwards too,” Mr Wykes said.

This year there will be a small admission charge of $5 per person, with accompanied children under 12 admitted free.

This will allow us to provide more fireworks and acts for the spectacular, and also to ensure ongoing sustainability for the event. Planning for the event is well underway and bookings are being taken for vendors, food stalls, market stalls and other activities – including jumping castles and a range of children’s activities and facilities,” he said.

Mr Wykes will work with Darren Jones (principle organiser for the Band Together Tathra Bushfire Concert), and Chris Nicholls, tourism manager for Merimbula Tourism; the event is being auspiced by Merimbula Tourism on behalf of the Bega Valley Shire Council.