The fences are down and the community partied
AIRLIE Beach's foreshore opened with a bang on Saturday with locals and visitors enjoying an afternoon of celebrations.
The Airlie Foreshore Fiesta was a long-awaited party saw the community turn out in droves to welcome in the $6.3 million revitalisation of the foreshore.
The fences came down and people made the most of being able to see the beach again and walk on grassed verges.
A walking track stretching from Airlie Beach through to Cannonvale Beach is also a welcome part of the revitalisation.
Saturday saw bands entertain the crowd throughout the day, while jumping castles, face-painting, and of course the new playground which was part of the revitalisation, kept the youngsters entertained for hours.
Markets, beach volleyball, markets and zumba sessions made sure there was something for everyone at the day, while the fireworks at night wowed the crowd.
Among the official ceremony was a smoking ceremony by Gary Prior and the Ngaro Gia Juru Dance Group, before the dancers performed for the crowd.
The memorial plaque for the revitalisation was also unveiled by Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Andrew Willcox and State Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julieanne Gilbert.
Cr Willcox was pleased the foreshore was finally open for everyone to use again, with so many joining in the celebrations.
"We've go people chilling out. We've got people being active. And all with the Coral Sea as the background," he said.
"It's been brilliant.
"Look at how many kids alone and taking advantage of the playground," he said.
"And we have fresh grass to the sand line... and people playing on the beach and making sandcastles."
Cr Willcox was particularly pleased that more than 1000 cubic metres of sand had been put on the beach area as part of the revitalisation.
"Council has put the beach back in Airlie Beach," he said.
Cr Willcox also thanked Airlie Beach traders for their patience during the long closure of the foreshore, but said the revitalisation would hopefully creat more trade for them now it was open.
Councillors Ron Pettersen and Jan Clifford also joined in the celebrations.
"We'd like to thank the teams that put it together... and everybody for showing up for what's been a fabulous day," Cr Clifford said.
Cr Pettersen said the new foreshore looked "magnificent".
"It's the continued revitalisation of the region. Good things come to those who wait," he said.
Mrs Gilbert was also pleased to be part of the celebrations.
"This is a fantastic outcome for the Whitsundays and something that will draw tourism," she said.
She also said it was also a lovely area for local families to also use.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen also spoke at the opening about how the revitalisation of the foreshore was "one of the good things" to come out of Cyclone Debbie.
"Hopefully this will attract more clientele to businesses and the markets," he said.