The Shoalhaven’s first ‘River Festival’ has been hailed as a huge success.
Thousands of people from across the region inundated Nowra on Saturday, to watch water sports and purchase goods from local markets on the Shoalhaven River’s banks.
The organiser of the event, Lyn Locke said she was overwhelmed by the event’s success.
“I had people that I haven’t seen for years come up and throw their arms around me and say ‘thanks so much I’ve had a great day’. And that in itself is very overwhelming.”
“I’m very pleased to say that was you know something that I’m very proud of, not only from my point of view but I’m very proud of the whole team that pulled it together,” she said.
Ms Locke said the Shoalhaven River is underutilized and the festival was designed to showcase the river’s tourism potential.
Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash said the River Festival has opened-up many new ideas for council to explore.
“It’s just unlimited and this is one of the reasons we joined council, was to try and get some vision and excitement back into the town.. and some pride,” she said.
The festival is due to be staged again in 2014 and it’s hoped the event will become the biggest tourism event the states seen in recent times.
Ms Locke said the organising committee is already coming up with ideas for next year’s festival.
“We certainly will within the next couple of weeks, we’ll come up with a plan for next year and I think it will be even bigger and better.
“I would hope in five years time that this would be one of the biggest tourist attractions in NSW with people coming down for the weekend, the week, to come to the Shoalhaven River Festival,” she said.
Mayor Gash said the event’s success also highlights the potential for a boat harbour to be constructed on the River.
“A marina conjures up a very grandiose type effect of lots, of lots, of lots of boats where a boat harbour, is what this area needs and yes, I can see potential for that.
“I see the potential here in the Shoalhaven River and I’ve always seen the potential out at Huskisson, Jervis Bay area.”