Sun shines on weekend family fun

The 2011 Sunflower Queen and Princess entrants with last year’s winners and the Canadian Sunflower Queen.
The 2011 Sunflower Queen and Princess entrants with last year’s winners and the Canadian Sunflower Queen. Robyn Esser

EMERALD streets came alive with a flurry of Easter Sunflower Festival events at the weekend.

The festival celebrated its 35th year in fine style under blue skies, with a record number of entrants lining up to take part in Saturday’s parade.

Crowds of residents and visitors lined the streets to cheer on the floats which made their way up Borrilla St, down Campbell St and then onto Pioneer Park, where the 2011 Sunflower Queen was announced.

Central Highlands Easter Sunflower Festival Committee president Patti Schwarz said it was a fantastic weekend helped by the divine weather.

“The whole event went off without a hitch,” she said.

“It was great to have a record number in the parade and just fantastic that so many families were out and about enjoying the fun.

“It’s all about family really.”

Mrs Schwarz said interest in the festival was steadily growing, making it one of the community’s premier events on the yearly calendar.

“We had a couple of quiet years there but it seems to have really picked up again, and I think it’s only going to get bigger,” she said.

“We had massive crowds at the parade and the rodeo and it just turned out to be a fun-filled weekend for the family.”

One of Mrs Schwarz’s highlights for the weekend, she said, was definitely the Emerald Rodeo, which enjoyed huge numbers of an excited crowd that crammed into the showgrounds to watch some of the best cowboys in the country.

A noticeable inclusion in the parade, and at the crowning ceremony, was a group of Tongan workers in traditional dress that sang for the crowd and were in town as part of the Pacific Islander Workers Scheme.

Mrs Schwarz thanked all the parade entrants, sponsors and groups involved in this year’s festival.

She said everyone’s efforts made for a very satisfying event that was enjoyed by many.

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