Welcome to Hervey Bay, the whale watching capital of the world. Once a year for 10 glorious days in August, Hervey Bay offers the rest of the world the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival. And one of the most popular events of the festival is the Whale Parade and Concert, held on the last Saturday of the event.
Everyone loves a parade, don’t they? Well, the community of Hervey Bay certainly does. The Whale Parade commences at the eastern end of the Hervey Bay Esplanade in the suburb of Scarness and proceeds along the Esplanade to end at the Seafront Oval.
ALL DAY FREE CONCERT
The festivities begin in the afternoon at 2pm, with a fabulous free all-day concert with leading Australian and local artists. There is even an Aloha Ohana Hawaiian Dancing workshop to participate in.
Stalls of food and local crafts are in abundance, with a fair ground including amusement rides for every one of all ages.
“Dagwood dogs” may be a great Aussie icon at showgrounds, but we believe the “Tornado Potatoes” may take over that title – boy, are they delicious!
LET THE FLOATS BEGIN!
The highlight of the day’s event is the float parade.
After attending the Blessing of the Fleet, Hervey Bay Seafood Festival and whale watching the previous weekend, I have returned to Hervey Bay with my marine naturalist husband Tony to see whether the parade is as much fun.
As dusk proceeds, the excitement builds. Throngs of people begin to arrive and line the roadside. Parents, children and officials all take their place with great expectations. And then, the parade begins, to everyone’s delight.
The crowd cheers and claps. Huge illuminated floats, marching bands, cars and utilities make their way slowly along the Esplanade. The whole community is involved.
School groups include the Hervey Bay Special School, Fraser Coast Anglican College and Star of the Sea Primary school. Children of all ages are dressed in fancy costumes with colourful painted, grinning faces. Even Elvis and Marilyn Monroe joined in!
The Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving Club and Fraser Coast Outriggers are all costumed up. The Hervey Bay Dragon Boat Club up stage other floats by having their own dragon weaving its way alongside their dragon boat float. People in the crowd recognise friends and family in the parade and shout them on. It’s the perfect event for those of you travelling to Hervey Bay with kids.
A crowd favourite, the Dunga Derby cars honk their presence with fabulously funny air horns (squawking chickens and bleating sheep…, seriously?!!) as the Sparks Dance Centre troop energetically dance and jig their way along the parade.
The parade is a hit. Everyone is smiling and laughing as the last float goes past. Then everyone heads over to the oval to continue the evening’s festivities.
Bring on the amusement rides and finally, yes, the fireworks! Seven minutes of non-stop, spectacular fireworks. I look on as a local tv crew wrap up their on-the-spot recording just as the final fireworks light up the sky.
What a great way to bring the event to a close. Another feather in the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival’s cap.
Irene and Tony Isaacson travelled to the Harvey Bay Whale Parade at their own expense.
Discover Fraser Coast
Hervey Bay is the whale-watching capital of the world. Find out why. There’s a lot to do in and around Hervey Bay, such as visiting historic Maryborough and exploring the natural wonders of the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island.
Hervey Bay has plenty of accommodation options for a range of budgets.
For more information about the next Hervey Bay Whale Parade go here.