Festival fever fires up town

The Emerald Dance Centre took out first prize in the float competition.
The Emerald Dance Centre took out first prize in the float competition.

THE Sunflower Festival street parade exploded with colour and excitement as it wound its way around Emerald streets on Saturday morning.

Parents waved to parade participants and kids squealed in excitement as they scurried to collect the lollies tossed from the floats.

"I think it went very well," Sunflower committee president Patti Schwarz said. "It went off without a hitch. The parade lived up to our expectations. There were plenty of floats and decorated bikes, lots of colour."

The Emerald Dance Centre won best float and the Emerald Pre-School and Community Kindergarten float came runner-up in a competition boasting many bright entries.

A cute addition to the parade was the children riding their decorated bikes, with two-year-old Mackenzie Burridge taking out first prize.

"The committee thanks all who took the time to put floats and decorated bikes in," Patti said. "I loved the Tongans singing. It was just terrific."

A first for the festival were the games at Pioneer Park which included a foot race and were popular.

"There was a huge crowd," she said.

"The Lions Club did sack races and egg and spoon races and the kids loved that.

"The whole day went really well."


Emerald gal dazzled to be crowned the queen 


That was all Melanie McMaster could manage to say in the minutes after she was crowned Sunflower Queen.

"I'm still collecting myself," Melanie said immediately after.

"This next year will be amazing, I am really looking forward to it.

"It's something very different."

Melanie chose to raise funds for the AEIOU Foundation for Children with Autism and held a sausage sizzle, a raffle, a movie premiere and a trivia night.

"I raised just over $5000 and feel so honoured I got to do that," she said.

"They were very grateful, it goes to a great cause here in Emerald.

"I am just happy to raise that for them and contribute to the community."

Melanie was bestowed with the Sunflower crown and sceptre and was awarded $750, a sapphire ring and a trip to Canada.

"I feel so honoured to represent Emerald, having lived here all my life, it's a great opportunity," the new queen said.

"I've never been to Canada so I am very excited to experience the culture and see the different sights and their Sunflower festival."

Melanie's family was there at the crowning on Saturday to cheer her on and mum Shelley said it was "very exciting" to see Melanie named as Sunflower Queen.

"I think I was more nervous for her, I nearly fell over (when they announced Melanie had won)," Shelley said.

"It was so worthwhile and we had fun doing the fundraising with Melanie. We are so very proud of her."

The 2011 Sunflower Queen Amy Spannagle was there at the crowning on Saturday to give Melanie a few tips in what to expect as queen.

"Mel is going to have a blast," Amy said.

"It's a life experience on its own. It's so exciting to pass it on to someone new." 


Surprised smile from Sunflower Princess 

GEORGIA Staal is the Sunflower Princess for 2012.

The 16-year-old was crowned princess in the ceremony on Saturday, much to her surprise and delight.

Collecting herself to give an impromptu speech, Georgia thanked the Sunflower committee and the other entrants.

"It's such a great experience," she said. "I've made a lot of friends, it's been fantastic. Very memorable."

Runner-up 15-year-old Suzannah Ramsay congratulated Georgia on winning the title.

"Georgia did a good job, I am very proud," Suzannah said.

Sharing in the special moment together, Georgia was quick to add she was very surprised to have won.

"Either one of us could have won it, it was that close," Georgia said. "I feel very privileged."

A Central Highlands girl at heart, Georgia said she often watched the Easter parade while growing up.

The Marist College student was able to take part in the parade this year, decorating her own float.

Georgia, who plays netball in her spare time, had her friends from the sport on board the float to give her a hand in waving to the crowd. 


Our friendly folk impress Canadian 

THE friendliness of the people of the Central Highlands is just one of the many things Altona Sunflower Queen Rachel Sawatzky will remember from her trip Down Under.

The 19-year-old took part in the Sunflower Festival held in Emerald at the weekend and said she had met many friendly people.

"I am loving it, I love the weather," Rachel said.

"It's beautiful and great people. It's very community orientated much like Altona.

"Everyone is very friendly."

Rachel and her parents stayed with Amy and her family for the week.

The Canadian queen said the Spannagle family was very hospitable.

"We feel so welcomed and at home, very chilled and relaxed," the Canadian said.

The Central Highlands made a good impression on Rachel and her family and she said she would keep the memories forever.

During her stay, Rachel saw her first kangaroo, visited the Gemfields, the Springsure look-out, the Blackwater International Coal Centre, experienced what it would be like in a mine at Lennon Training and went horseback riding on the Spannagle property.

"I'd like to thank Amy and her family," Rachel said.

"We've had a lot of fun and good laughs.

"We have become great friends and hopefully we will keep in contact in the years to come." 


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Walk-in mine a gem

UP FOR AWARD: The Miners Heritage Walk-In Mine tour.

The Miners Heritage Walk-In Mine is competing for a tourism award

New store opened in Clermont

KENNEDY & GRACE: Store owner Chloe Hodgkinson with her children in the new shop in Clermont.

Clermont is home to the newly re-opened Kennedy & Grace.

Girls night out in memory of Kim-Marie Brown

SUPPORT: Grace Ferguson with her parents Kyle and Kim, at the day for diabetes held in Dingo at the weekend.
Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News

Girls Night Out in memory of Kim-Marie Brown.

Local Partners

Plenty of things to do in the region in the coming week

From dance productions to bargain hunting - here's plenty to do in the region in this week and next

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Peter Pan comes to Emerald

Peter Pan comes to the Central Highlands.

Peter Pan flies in to the Central Highlands this month

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.