Bid to recharge the Mardi Gras

MARDI Gras will once again spill out onto the CBD streets this rodeo, and with former Rodeo Queen, now Warwick Tourism and Events (WTE) chief executive, Tracy Vellacott at the helm, she’s determined to make it a cracker.

The WTE board decided at its meeting earlier this week to push for the approval of Southern Downs Regional Council and other authorities to bring the Friday night Mardi Gras back to its original form by having it spread into CBD Palmerin St.

After meetings yesterday with local police and council, Ms Vellacott announced Palmerin St will be closed from Grafton right through to Albert St on Friday October 28 for the Rodeo’s Mardi Gras party to take place.

“From my perspective, Mardi Gras is a real chance to enjoy a night out with the family and friends in a relaxed and festive atmosphere and reconnect with our neighbours and community,” Ms Vellacott said.

“It’s a chance to wander and appreciate our beautiful CBD, the Horticultural Society’s floral window display entries and of course the city’s roses.”

She said it would also give shops and eateries the chance to benefit from the crowds.

While in the past there have been grumblings from some business owners unhappy at the street closure, Ms Vellacott asked for some support for the special occasion.

“My feeling is some of the family atmosphere eroded in the last couple of years by us trying to use Leslie Park,” she said. “We know road closures aren’t flavour of the month but we ask for some leniency with this one.”

Working with the streetscape will be a challenge, but Ms Vellacott said one half of the street would be used for emergency vehicle access and she was still trying to figure out where to put the stage.

Ms Vellacott was a Rodeo Queen back in the ’80s and said she has fantastic memories of the annual event.

“I recall as a young person the fun atmosphere and the excitement of coming down to the Mardi Gras and my kids had that,” she said.

“They say it’s been lacking a bit the last couple of years and though that’s a teenager’s perspective, we want to get that atmosphere back.”

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