'Gladiator warriors' Kelly Gunther and Hayley Wilkinson get ready to battle at the mardi gras.
'Gladiator warriors' Kelly Gunther and Hayley Wilkinson get ready to battle at the mardi gras.

Nanango Mardi Gras welcomes in New Year

ON THE last warm night of 2016, about 3500 New Year's Eve revellers attended the 42nd consecutive Nanango Mardi Gras to help welcome in the New Year.

Gates opened at 4pm and thanks to its major sponsor - Heritage Nanango Community Bank, entry was free and all rides were at cost prices. While food, novelty stalls and dozens of rides and entertainment for kids thrived, at 8pm the first of two fireworks shows went off, lighting up the warm summer night skies.

With promotions from local businesses, people were able to collect Mardi Gras money to be used on the night for rides and canteen food purchases. Mardi gras promotion also allowed for people to put their name in a draw for three $1000 prizes drawn at 8.15pm on the main stage. Prizes included a holiday at Caloundra, a LCD TV and a $1000 shopping voucher.

Mardi Gras committee president Barry Green was 'over the Moon' with the turnout.

"When we held our first-ever 2015 Mardigras at the Showgrounds, we attracted 5000 and while today was stinking hot, by 6pm it was cooler and that is when a lot of young families and seniors arrived,” he said.

But this event, he said, has long history.

"It all began 1968 as a mardi gras held in October each year. After some years, the name was changed to the Pioneer Festival, as that is where we held it - at Pioneer Park in town.

"In 2006 we asked the local high school students would they like to get involved with the committee and after some inclusion from the students, the Committee voted for a new name: FunFest. We even had street parades back then but it soon proved too costly and harder to manage by the volunteers.

"So we searched around for a major sponsor and it was Heritage Nanango Community Branch that came to our rescue with an underwritten agreement to cover our PLI and subsidise the entertainment. This allowed us to approach the Nanango Show Society to use the Showgrounds. Now we're set for many future Neew Year's Eve mardi gras in the future, thanks to these wonderful people at Heritage.”