10 May 2023

Tourists tipped to flock to Cooktown for festival

| Cape York Weekly
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The re-enactment of James Cook’s arrival on the banks of the Endeavour River is always a big hit at the Cooktown Discovery Festival.

COOKTOWN’S biggest annual event returns this weekend, with thousands expected to attend the Cooktown Discovery Festival.

A highlight of the social calendar since the 1950s, the festival includes favourite events such as the street parade, a re-enactment of James Cook’s landing at the Endeavour River and the return of the 1RAR Rising Suns Army big band.

New to the program this year are a four-wheel-drive muster, paranormal tours of the historical convent-turned-museum, as well as ballet and BMX stunt workshops.

Starting Friday, daily events will include markets, kids’ activities, Hyper the clown, guided tours and the CWA cafe.

There is no entry fee for the festival, however, some events require bookings or paid tickets, which can be made on the Discovery Festival website.

Highlights of Friday’s program are the Reconciliation Re-enactment, Banks Banquet, musket firing, Roaming Wild animal encounters, Botanic Gardens night tour and Cooktown Museum paranormal tour.

The fun continues on Saturday with a stunt bike workshop, Queensland Ballet workshop, Roaming Wild again, the Army band, gold delivery re-enactment, street parade, 4×4 muster and spaghetti eating competition, finished with a sunset soiree and fireworks on the waterfront.

The Australian Army’s popular 1RAR Rising Suns big band will return to Cooktown this year.

On Sunday, the program kicks off bright and early with Bugzy Bumblebee and laughter yoga, a combined church service, a stunt bike workshop, the famous re-enactment, Hats and High Tea and finishes with another Botanic Gardens night tour.

Roaming Wild owner Talia Place said she was excited to bring her interactive wildlife display to Cooktown for the first time.

“I’ve been to Cooktown before, but it will be my first time at the festival and we’ve heard all about it,” she said.

“We have a show on Friday afternoon and another on Saturday morning, and will have a lot of different animals out on display as well as others people can hold, touch and get photos with.”

The educational display will feature numerous animals including snakes, lizards, squirrel gliders, a macaw, tarantulas, scorpions and even a giant burrowing cockroach, who enjoys getting held by his audience.

While the major action begins this weekend, if you’re already in town there is plenty to see and do, with spear-making workshops and guided tours as part of the pre-festival events.

Visit cooktownexpo.com.au for more information and to book ticketed events.

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