Hectic is not the word; there has to be something stronger to describe the amount of effort going into festival preparations by the production team here at AWBF at the moment. With an Antarctic Festival to produce, now just seven weeks away, the crew is in high gear, marshalling exhibitors, volunteers, equipment and publicity. At the same time, of course, preparations are steaming ahead for the next Australian Wooden Boat Festival, now 29 weeks away in February 2017.
We have plenty of news to impart this month, with the confirmation of most of our Feature Vessels for 2017, a report on the flow of boat registrations and a preview of the International Wooden Boat Symposium. There are challenges too, with alterations to the Hobart waterfront costing us a few berths and the number of larger boats up considerably on the last festival. We have some good news on new sponsorships and continuing support from the Tasmanian State Government, as well as one or two changes in our crew line-up to take us into the new festival.
There are some important dates to be aware of: Expressions of Interest for Boats Afloat will close on 17 October and applications for commercial trading spaces on the festival site will close on 31 October. The festival site and the Maritime Marketplace are filling up at a rapid rate, as maritime suppliers take advantage of an enormous audience (220,000 visitors in 2015) interested in the very latest developments in maritime equipment, clothing and technology. And not least, get in soon to register your interest in the Tawe Nunnugah ‘raid’ organised by the Living Boat Trust in Franklin. There are limited spaces left for boats and crew in this challenging and exciting sailing, rowing and camping trip that starts in Recherche Bay and makes its way up the stunning Channel coastline to arrive in time for the Parade of Sail that open the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
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