Festival building to a big start

This year’s Burdekin Water Festival will combine a celebration of the past and provide for a stronger future for program entrants.

Nominations for the Queensland Country Credit Union Junior Ambassador and Wilmar Sugar Senior Ambassador programs are now open for what will, essentially, be the 60th time the programs have run.

The Sunwater Burdekin Blokes program also returns in 2018 with nominations now being taken and an emphasis on entrants from community groups and local small businesses.

Member for Burdekin, Dale Last, has again offered to cover the nomination for three entrants.  Water Festival Vice-President, Brendan Winn, said that local member’s support highlighted the importance of the program.

“Last year we had a group of Burdekin Blokes who really came out of their shells with Dale’s help,” Mr Winn said.  “They were all quite shy at the start of the festival but by the end they were more confident and they were great representatives of their organisations.”

“The entrants in all of the programs develop personally but they also highlight what local community groups and businesses do for our district.”

“The programs go a long way to helping the entrants’ confidence but the benefits are also there for their sponsoring organisations and the community as a whole,” he said.

Flavours of the World will be the first major festival event on July 28th with entrants having only been introduced to festival sponsors prior to the event.

Mr Winn said this year’s festival will feature all the events that have become favourites but will also feature a few surprises.

“We have a few things up our sleeve to celebrate 60 years of the festival and we are looking forward to sharing the festival with the public and the program entrants,” Mr Winn said.

Nomination forms for the Ambassador and Burdekin Blokes programs are now available from the Burdekin Water Festival website. Applications for stalls at Flavours of the World are also being accepted and are also available from the website.


Burdekin Blokes have shot at Origin…

Trip for two to State of Origin on offer for winning Sunwater Burdekin Bloke

Although a Burdekin Bloke does not need to be a Queenslander by birth, supporting the maroons will definitely be a boost for this year’s Sunwater Burdekin Bloke.

The Burdekin Water Festival committee has announced the prize for this year’s programme, a trip for two to the Brisbane leg of State of Origin in 2016.  The committee has also extended the application deadline to allow as many Blokes as possible the opportunity to enter.

Burdekin Water Festival Committee President, David Cooper, believes the prize is a perfect match for the winning Bloke.  “Any self-respecting Burdekin Bloke would be a Queensland supporter’” Mr Cooper quipped.  “So what could be a better prize than to see the mighty Maroons beat NSW in Brisbane?”

Changes to this year’s programme have ensured the Burdekin Blokes programme has a light-hearted aspect to it.  Entrants will be judged on a few criteria but will also have the chance to impress the judges with a 2 minute video submission.

“The idea is that the judges can see the entrants in their natural surroundings,” Mr Cooper said.  “You could have a farmer making their video in the paddock or a teacher could use his students to wow the judges… The options are endless and it’s all about having a bit of fun.”

Entrants in the programme are welcome to fundraise for their supporting organisation but this is not mandatory.  There are also self-development opportunities that entrants can take advantage of if they chose.

In addition to the major prize, a Community Choice winner will be chosen this year.  The entrant’s videos will be posted on social media and the entire community will have the chance to vote for their favourite Burdekin Bloke.

The deadline for applications has been extended to Saturday, June 6th to give as many Blokes as possible the chance to take part.  Nomination forms are available on the Burdekin Water Festival website and more information is available by contacting Mr Cooper on 0427 834 844.

Dominique Rizzo announced as guest chef for SunRice Tastes of the Burdekin

Events Unite To Secure Special Guest…

Two of this year’s most anticipated events have combined forces to lure a special guest to the Burdekin to share her two loves with the community.

Chef and author Dominique Rizzo will be the special guest for both the Ignite Your Mind Writers Festival and SunRice Tastes of the Burdekin.  Best known for her appearances on Channel 10’s “Ready Steady Cook”, Dominique embraces her 20 years of experience as a chef, restaurateur and author to share her passion for food.

For the organisers of both events, Dominique was a natural fit.  “Anyone who has seen Dominique on TV has seen how passionate she is about fresh local produce,” SunRice Tastes of the Burdekin Coordinator, Simone Young, said.  “Her love of various cuisines from around the world means there’s something for everyone.”

Burdekin Readers & Writers Association President, Treena List, believes the combination of writing and food made Dominique a perfect presenter for the inaugural writer’s event.  “I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t love great food,” she said.  “As an author of cookbooks Dominque faces the challenge of putting the details and her passion into words and that’s a challenge many writers face.”

The cooperation between the organising committees is a natural fit for many reasons.  The Ignite Your Mind Writers Festival will be held in the Burdekin on July 17th & 18th, overlapping with the ever-popular SunRice Tastes of the Burdekin which is held on the afternoon and evening of July 18th.

Water Festival Committee President, David Cooper, believes the cooperation makes sense on even more levels.  “Here we have two great events that showcase the passions that many of us share but it’s also about community groups combining their efforts to make events in the Burdekin more successful, more enjoyable and more appealing,” he said.  “I guess it shows that our community is capable of achieving big things when we work together.”


Ergon Energy Wearable Art returns in 2015

An opportunity of a lifetime

A revamp of the Ergon Energy Wearable Art competition will provide the opportunity of a lifetime for one winner; and endless opportunities for all participants.

For the last few years the annual event has been staged as an integral part of the Water Festival Mardi Gras, but this year will be staged in conjunction with Tastes of the Burdekin.  Wearable Art Coordinator, Sandi Milani, said changing the timing of the event made perfect sense for many reasons.

“We’re so lucky this year to have Tastes of the Burdekin on the same weekend as the Burdekin Readers & Writers Festival,” she said.  “It means that we have a full weekend to celebrate food and art, which are a perfect combination.”

The competition will see local and visiting entrants compete in an Open and a Student section, with both sections featuring prizes geared towards supporting the artistic endeavours of the winners.

“Our aim is to help the entrants highlight and share their talent at the event and to help the winners take their work to the next level,” Mrs Milani said.  “The prize on offer for the winner of the student section is really an opportunity of a lifetime!”

The winning student will win a trip to Brisbane for an exclusive experience made possible by the Queensland Theatre Company and Ergon Energy.  With rare “behind the scenes” access, the winner will receive a unique insight into the design, fitting and construction of costumes made for Queensland Theatre Company productions.

“We hope we can inspire the winners and show them just what they can achieve,” Mrs Milani said.  This year’s theme is “It’s a Wild & Wonderful World” and Mrs Milani believes spectators will be pleasantly surprised.

“Entrants take the theme and inject their own creativity,” Mrs Milan said.  “A theme like this opens endless possibilities and should provide a major spectacle at the judging on Saturday, July 18th.”

Further details are available by calling the Wearable Art Coordinator, Sandi Milani, on 0427 821 065.

The Search Begins...

Ambassadors & Burdekin Blokes sought for festival

With planning for this year’s events well advanced, the Burdekin Water Festival Committee has begun the search for entrants in the Queensland Country Credit Union Junior Ambassador, Wilmar Sugar Senior Ambassador and Sunwater Burdekin Blokes programs.

Water Festival Committee President, David Cooper, said that this year’s programs would offer the same opportunities as previous years.  “We have a team of four (4) coordinators who have put in a massive amount of work on this year’s programs,” he said.  “With the support of our sponsors and local groups like Rostrum we can offer programs that offer major benefits to the entrants and to their supporting organisations.”

Whilst the Junior and Senior Ambassador programs remain relatively unchanged, the Sunwater Burdekin Blokes program has undergone a modest update.  “The ideal Burdekin Bloke likes to have fun so we wanted to allow entrants to focus more on that aspect of their personality,” Mr Cooper said.

Burdekin Blokes entrants will be required to submit a two (2) minute video showing them in their “natural surroundings” that shows why they are the ideal Burdekin Bloke.  “It’s about letting the entrants show who they really are because the ideal Burdekin Bloke is more about personality than age or occupation or anything else,” Mr Cooper said.

Organisations that have previously supported entrants will be contacted over the next few days with information on this year’s programs but Mr Cooper said there was always room for more people to take advantage of the opportunities available.  “The coordinators will be putting in the hard yards over the next few weeks to let people know exactly what the programs offer and how they can benefit from being a part of the Festival,” Mr Cooper said.

The positives from participating in the programs are unquestioned for both entrants and the organisations that support them.  For the entrants it is a chance to develop skills, increase self-confidence, support their community and make new friendships.  “At the start of the program each year you have a group of nervous but eager entrants,” Mr Cooper said.  “By the time the crowning evenings come around you have a group of confident entrants who are almost unrecognisable; and who have made lifelong friendships through the programs.”

For the supporting organisations there are also benefits.  “What we offer the supporting organisations is a great platform to raise both their public profile and much needed funds,” Mr Cooper said.  “But perhaps the biggest benefit for an organisation is playing a part in helping the entrants to become more passionate about their community and it’s that passion that makes the Burdekin such a great place to live.”

Entrants in all three programs will have their first major public appearance at Tastes of the Burdekin on Saturday, July 18th.  Two crowning evenings will again be held this year; on Friday, August 28th and Saturday, August 29th.  The Water Festival will conclude with the Rotary Club of Ayr Grand Parade and Mardi Gras on Saturday, September 5th.

Although they are keeping some surprises “up their sleeve”, Mr Cooper said the Burdekin community could look forward to another Festival to remember.  “The committee has already put in a huge effort and their work, along with the generous support of our sponsors, means another great Water Festival for the local community.”

Further details on the Ambassador and Burdekin Blokes programs are available by emailing or by contacting the Committee via the Burdekin Water Festival Facebook page.

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