Butchulla ceremony

Ancient Butchulla ceremony to help season start in good spirits

An ancient Butchulla smoking ritual will be performed for the first time as part of the annual Blessing of the Fleet this year.

The Blessing, a major part of the Ocean Festival presented by University of Sunshine Coast (USC),will combine a rich blend of experiences on Saturday, August 12.

Visitors can tour the many whale watching vessels, wander through market stalls packed with locally made arts and crafts, enjoy a sail past, listen to great live entertainment and get a kick out of the fireworks in an action-packed program which sees the region’s famous fleet blessed in a centuries-old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to foster a safe and prosperous season.

Bradley Nardi, Fraser Coast Tourism and Events Marketing and Communications Manager, said this year’s Blessing offered a number of new and exciting elements on top of all the traditional favourites.

“For the first time this year Traditional Owners, the Butchulla people, will provide entertainment in the form of song and dance as well as a cleansing smoking ceremony to ward off unfavourable spirits,’’ he said.

“There will also be plenty of tasty food stalls for families to grab something quick, easy and affordable to eat plus a host of kids’ entertainment such as  face painting, rides, a jumping castle and fireworks in the evening.”

Visitors can take a close look at the vessels that keep the whale season afloat including the whale watch fleet and support craft as they are led into the marina by the Hervey Bay Dragon Boat Club and later opened for inspection.

A fireworks display will light up the evening sky from about 7.20pm to end the event.

The Blessing of the Fleet from 4pm to 7.30pm at the Great Sandy Straits Marina is a firm favourite of the nine-day Hervey Bay Ocean Festival presented by USC.

With other highlights including the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival on August 13, the Whale Festival Parade and Concert on August 19 and the Paddle Out for Whales on August 20, it is a celebration not to be missed.

For more information please head to oceanfestival.com.au.

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