CELEBRATE: Brother and sister Moya, 11, and Rory Dennis, 13, of Brooloo amongst the scarecrows, preparing for the lantern parade at sunset today.
CELEBRATE: Brother and sister Moya, 11, and Rory Dennis, 13, of Brooloo amongst the scarecrows, preparing for the lantern parade at sunset today. Greg Miller

Celebrating five years since good Traveston news

TODAY, the Mary River Festival marks a significant milestone and even more reasons than usual to celebrate.

Tuesday will mark five years since the proposed Traveston Dam was canned.

The moment the little word "no" left federal environmental minister Peter Garrett's lips, there were cries heard throughout the Valley.

It is something still firmly planted in the mind of Mary Valley advocate Ian Mackay.

Still working as a school teacher at the time, he made a mad rush to Kandanga when the bell rang at 3pm.

"Instead of saying no, we were celebrating the river," Mr Mackay said.

"Peter Garrett gave us (the Mary Valley) a reprieve and gave people time to take much better care of the river.

"The reason so many sprang to its defence is because of an early dam fight near Conondale in the 1990s and that got people talking about the river."

He said many good things were a result of what could have been a devastating situation.

He said in the past year many properties have been sold to private landholders, which has begun to revitalise the region.

Projects such as the Mary River endangered species recovery plan have also allowed the lung fish and Mary River turtle to thrive.

It was also a milestone which raised much needed awareness for the river, festival co-ordinator Joolie Gibbs said.

"The fight to save the Mary shone a spotlight - an international spotlight - on our river, one that Tim Flannery refers to as "perhaps our most significant"," she said.

To celebrate this revitalisation, the Mary River Festival will start at noon today at the Kandanga Recreation Grounds.

From scarecrow displays to market stalls to haybale mazes and lantern parades, it will be family affair.

Musical performers will include the BarleyShakers. Their performance will be sentimental for those involved in the Dam issue as the band was a significant supporter of the campaign.

Entry: $5 adults, $2 for under-16s.