Australia Day celebrations

Bite sized tasting plates showcasing local ingredients will be served up at the Cairns Esplanade this Sunday 26 January as part of an innovative new event to celebrate Australia Day.

Cairns Regional Council will have the barbecues sizzling at Yorkeys Knob for its free BBQ at the Beach from 7am on Sunday to kick-off a full morning of entertainment and activities across the city.
Getting ready for Australia Day events in Cairns are Joey Forsyth in a giant Vegemite costume, Mayor Bob Manning, Elie Sopas from Piato Mediterranean Cuisine with Tablelands slow cooked lamb sliders with Tzatziki and barbecue sauce, and local musician Jade Schuck from Hard 2 Miss.

In a break from recent tradition, the Esplanade barbecue will give way to Great Australian Bites, an event hosted by Cairns Regional Council in partnership with the Queensland Government, involving restaurants from The Pier Cairns Shopping Centre dishing up for a small price tasting plates featuring local ingredients.

Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse, Piato Mediterranean Cuisine, Ochre, Coffee Bean Estate, The Backyard and Tha Fish are taking part in the event from 10am to 2pm.

A program of local live performers will keep attendees entertained and includes the stunning and original Connecting Ancient Cultures performance by CADCAI Lions and MINJIL Indigenous dancers.

Get ready for some distinctly Aussie flavoured fun with Hit FM to judge the Vegemite finger-painting competition, while there will be free entertainment for the kids and plenty of prizes and giveaways on offer.

“Australia Day is a great day to get out and enjoy everything that’s great about living in Tropical North Queensland,” Mayor Bob Manning said. “There are lots of family-friendly activities to enjoy across the city, so why not get everyone together and celebrate with your community.”

At Yorkeys Knob, grab a free sausage sandwich from 7am to 2pm and relax on the foreshore with live entertainment including food and market stalls, music, beach activities, martial arts circuit, raffles, prizes, face painting, jumping castle and the cutting of the Australia Day cake.

Embrace Australia Day-themed festivities by taking part in a host of novelty games, including thong tossing, sack race, a tug of war, the Aussie lingo test and of course an Australian tradition, French cricket.

Presented by Cairns Regional Council and supported by Yorkeys Knob Community Progress and Residents Association and Multy Cut Meats, BBQ at the Beach will also feature the Cairns American Car Club, Cairns and District Vintage Cars and Cape York HOG (Harley Owners Group), along with dancers from Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and participation by local firies and police.

Triple M will broadcast live from the beachside.

To south of the city, celebrate Australia Day in Edmonton with a free barbecue and kids’ activities at Sugarworld Gardens from 11am to 1pm.

Enjoy the free festivities, including live music, a sausage sizzle, lamingtons, tug of war, face painting and novelty competitions like thong throwing and Weet-Bix and pie eating.

Cr Manning urged residents to prepare for the possibility of a wet Australia Day in Cairns to avoid letting the weather dampen the fun.

“We live in the tropics and it’s the wet season,” he said. “So, if it’s raining on Sunday, slip on a pair of thongs and embrace our tropical weather.”

Great Australian Bites event will be relocated to The Pier Shopping Centre should it rain heavily.

The day takes on extra significance for 76 Cairns region residents, who will become Australians on Australia Day. A special citizenship ceremony will be held at Cairns Regional Council to welcome the new citizens, who hail from 20 countries of origin.

“This is truly one of the highlights of Australia Day,” Cr Manning said. “It’s fantastic that so many of our residents become Australian citizens on our national day – what a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our region’s diversity.”

Note – in the event of a Severe Weather Warning, see Cairns Regional Council’s Facebook page for updates.

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