2015 Whitsunday Event of the Year
Bowen Family Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend have excelled at providing an action packed weekend of activities in the first weekend of the September school vacation for 23 years. After such a non-stop run, the event has come to be known affectionately as “The Classic” and visitors to Bowen return year after year to Bowen, to take in the fishing, live music and good clean family entertainment over the weekend. The committee consists of six to eight members who donate their time voluntarily to planning, promoting and co-ordinating the event. Bowen Family Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend committee have “put on a show” consistently every year for 23 years and the community relies on this weekend to get out on the water, experience the beachside location and outdoor entertainment. To the best of our knowledge there is no other Fishing Competition that provides such a jam-packed event with such a bevy of prizes and live entertainment for the cost of a gold coin. The committee is always impressed that sponsors renew their sponsorships every year and believe that their willingness to return is based on the weekend’s popularity attracting over 12,000 to the event. Financially the committee has provided funding donations of up to $40,000 to local and regional charities.
Examples of the impact of “The Classic” on the Bowen community
You cannot maintain such a large scale event without ongoing support within the community. Many sponsors agree to help out because they can appreciate the on-flow they receive from the event. “The Classic” contributes to the economic well-being of Bowen businesses large and small in many ways. Accommodation books out weeks in advance, and the store owners notices an increase in demand for fishing supplies, fuel, groceries, beverages and meals from Friday to Sunday. “The Classic” committee is proud of the fact we have strong connections with many local businesses and have established many long-term sponsors. In the lead-up to the competition the sponsors agree to sell nomination tickets and assist by allowing the committee to display posters on their premises. So when someone walks in to buy a ticket at the local newsagent they also walk out with a newspaper and a magazine. This same on-selling effect goes on all over town. The main event at the classic is the Fishing Competition which draws a large crowd as they watch the catches weigh-in. Fishermen have the option to donate their catch to “The Classic” and these fish are processed into fillets that are donated to local community organisations such as Meals on Wheels. The processing service is provided by one of the local fishing co-op for free or a nominal charge to cover their costs. This is an example of an excellent community event working with local business. The committee recognises this assistance in our promotions over the weekend and the flyer by listing all our sponsors as prominently as we can in the space and time available.
What makes us stand out?
“The Classic” has become entrenched as the main fishing event in our region. We have strong partnerships with many local businesses such as the local hire business that assist with the bump-in and bump-out of our entire infrastructure at the beach front. The list is endless but here is a sample of how the event supports locals. The following infrastructure is sourced locally – the fencing, the marquee’s, the tables and chairs, the weigh-in trailer, the refrigerated trailer, the port-a-loo’s and so on. The local newspaper knows the event line-up nearly as well as the committee does after working in partnership for the past 23 years. The committee communicates successfully and liaises with the local police, local council and other emergency services to ensure the event runs smoothly.