GIANT puppets of the animals of the Mary River environs blending with a spectacular solar laser show, accompanied by awesome music will be the highlight of this year's Mary River Festival to be held at Kandanga Recreation Ground on Saturday.
The puppeteers, musicians and lighting team have been working solidly for months on the project called Sounds of Mary.
The project has received funding from Festivals Australia.
But this is only part of the festival, which will also have storytelling, a movie tent showing environmental videos, a speakers tent, environmental products, good music, good food, children's activities and plenty of community spirit.
The festival, now in its fifth year, is becoming a must-attend community event for those who recognise the importance of the Mary River and its catchment.
The festival will be held at Kandanga Recreation Grounds (Spicer's Oval) with performances starting at noon and going through to 8pm.
The line-up of musicians includes B.L.T., Zumba, local choirs, local group Catalyst,
local jazz maestro T-Bone Turner, Hat Fitz and Cara, dancers, John Malcolm, The Amazing Terry circus act and The Floating Bridges.
Food and market stalls, demonstrations and community information will circle the grounds, as well as workshops in puppetry, weaving, linoblock printing, hula hoops, and juggling and circus skills.
There will be environmental displays from community groups and businesses, and demonstrations of worm farming, eco dying on paper and bicycle maintenance, and tree planting on Kandanga Creek beside the festival at 2.30pm.
For the fourth year the popular Gecko Man will entertain visitors with his display of reptiles.
There will be several musical areas for interaction, including the acoustic jam tent and the create-music-from-anything area, and Steve Weiss with some of his amazing musical instruments.
A new addition this year is the giant 3m Mary River turtle, which has been made in the past month at workshops with weaver Kris Martin through funding from the Gympie Regional Arts Development Fund.
The turtle has been made mostly with cat's claw fibres and will be there for others to contribute to the final product.
For those who would like to take home a memento of the occasion, artist Bob Gammage will be back to complete a painting of the event on site and then auction it off before the official welcome later in the afternoon.
Make sure you are there from 6pm on to witness or be part of the exciting performance event, never seen in this area before.
The festival offers so much to do and is a terrific way of celebrating the communities along the river.
It will be well worth putting the time aside on Saturday to attend.
Entry is $2 which makes it a low-cost family event.
For more information phone Joolie Gibbs on 5481 0732.
Movie co-ordinator Ian Mackay has put together a program of short films about the Mary and its inhabitants.
Starting at 2.30pm, the theatrette in the Mary Rivertent will host the work of local filmmakers, including ones on the iconic Mary River cod and the Mary River turtle and will feature an international film, A River Runs Through Us, which places the Mary in an international context.
The movie session will close with the presentation of winners and screening of selected entries from the Clarence and Lucy competition.