1st June 2016
Despite some unseasonal rain, thousands of locals and interstate visitors flocked to Rex Smeal Park, Macrossan Street and various locations along the Port Douglas foreshore from 12-22 May for what has shaped up to be one of the biggest and best Port Douglas Carnivale's yet.
While heavy rain caused minor disruption to the program over the weekend, the downpour didn't dampen the spirits of festival-goers who came in the thousands from all over Australia. Thanks to the success of this year's event, Far North Queenslanders can now look forward to more high-end shows on the program for Port Douglas Carnivale.
Port Douglas Carnivale organiser Melissa Head estimated that the parade attracted around 10,000 people while the world famous Spiegeltent saw close to 8,000 people through its doors. Free events were well attended while almost all ticketed shows were a sell-out. The crowd was the biggest and best seen at the festival in 3-4 years.
Although the wet weather did affect some events, all shows went on, including headliner Joe Camilleri who brought the house down at the Port on a Fork event. The show was very successful, with festival-goers letting loose and dancing in the rain. Organisers hope to attract similar headline acts and popular shows to future festivals, achieving an ideal balance between free events and affordable ticketed events.
The flood of visitors for Carnivale boosted Port Douglas accommodation occupancy to above average for this time of year. Tourism Port Douglas Daintree chief executive Tara Bennett credited this to good planning and an excellent campaign leading up to the event, attracting visitors from interstate, particularly Victoria. The tourism body acknowledged the importance of Carnivale in driving growth in visitation during quieter months.
Knockout Events and Carnivale organisers were also congratulated by Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu for a sensation job in organising the festival and coping with the unexpected rain. Having introduced a new format to the festival this year, festival-goer feedback was positive with many saying they are already looking forward to Carnivale 2017.