THE Hervey Bay Whale Festival has drawn an estimated crowd of 15,000 people to the Esplanade to enjoy an event that was more tightly pitched to conservation, education and families this year.
The ramped up approach proved a triumph.
This year's festival maintained the format of having a sharper conservation edge with Sea Shepherd, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Oceania Project, who are involved with humpback whale research in Hervey Bay, playing a key role in setting the tenor of the festival.
Fraser Coast Regional council events co-ordinator Ms Donna Prentice said the focus on local contributors added to the event's popularity.
“There is always a huge local content but we had local performers, a lot of local artisans, to help showcase the region,” Ms Prentice.
“I would like to see the festival go over a longer period of time to benefit the region more and highlight the whales.''
Saturday's illuminations parade, which began as the sun set, was a highlight of an event that has been at least five months in the organising.
It had been preceded by the new forum Creating Waves staged on Friday night that had internationally recognised speakers presenting at the USQ in combination with a day long musical program.
At Sea Front Oval, the Whale Aid Concert (10am – 10.30pm) provided non-stop music against a backdrop of stalls and the lively entertainment provided by side-show alley.
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