MASTER WEAVERS: Cat's claw weaving artists (back from left) Ian Mackay, Julia Kitto, Renee Bahloo and (front) Jan Williams were kept busy during the afternoon instructing on basket weaving.
MASTER WEAVERS: Cat's claw weaving artists (back from left) Ian Mackay, Julia Kitto, Renee Bahloo and (front) Jan Williams were kept busy during the afternoon instructing on basket weaving.

Joyous crowds, great weather make Mary River Fest 'best yet'

GREAT weather and great crowds had organisers smiling at this year's Mary River festival in Kandanga on Saturday.

Calling it "the best yet", organisers said numbers were well up on last year but that it was more the joyous spirit they brought to the festival that made for such a great day.

This year's event drew visitors from many parts of the Sunshine Coast, Burnett and local areas.

Spokesperson for the organising committee, Glenda Pickersgill, said the event more than lived up to its reputation for being laid-back as well as informative and a real day of celebration.

One of the highlights was the world's largest cat's claw weaving workshop which saw over 80 participants packed into four tents making baskets from the environmental weed, cat's claw creeper.

The special wild life section of the Spring in the Mary photographic competition attracted outstanding entries and made up a big sector of the total 130 entries from as far as Melbourne.

The top award went to Annamiek Wilson, of Amamoor for Darter in Flight which also won the Peoples Choice award.

Always a festival with a host of kid's activities, the straw bale maze and the giant tug of war proved mightily popular, while Martin Fingland of Geckoes Wildlife drew a huge crowd with his display and talk on the animals that make the Mary so special.

This year's diverse music line-up included Andrea Kirwin, Landscape, Kelly Cork and the Barry Charles Band.

The Mary's threatened species again featured in the evening lantern parade which was followed by a spectacular laser and action show.

Organisers found a very pleasant surprise awaited them on clean-up day on Sunday as festival goers had left the site almost totally free of rubbish, less than a tenth of a fertiliser bag of rubbish being collected in all.

Plans are already afoot for next year's event, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the vetoing of the plans to build Traveston Crossing Dam.