Townsville ramps up for huge events weekend

Date published: 4 August 2023

Townsville is bracing for a major weekend of events with events like the Exercise Talisman Sabre Community Day, the NRL Queensland derby double header, and the Townsville Running Festival converging on the city this Saturday.

The events will be a significant economic injection for Townsville and is expected to draw tens of thousands into the city centre and fringe suburbs.

Mayor Jenny Hill said this was arguably the biggest Saturday for events in Townsville this year.

“No matter what you’re into there will be something for you on Saturday. Along with the Exercise Talisman Sabre Community Day, Townsville will also host the Townsville Running Festival, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Cowboys v Broncos double header derby with back-to-back NRL and NRLW games, Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures, Afro-Cuban dance festival Afrekete, and so much more,” Cr Hill said.

“You’ll be hard pressed to find accommodation in Townsville this weekend, which means our local business owners are set to see a surge in trade. Events like these bring a huge contingent of participants and attendees to our city, helping to boost our local economy.

“In our latest Community Sentiment Survey a whopping 86 per cent of Townsville residents backed Council’s goal of making Townsville a city where there’s a lot for people to do, including in the arts, sports, events and recreational activities.

“Townsville residents know how to throw their support behind events across the city, and I’m sure Saturday will be no exception.

“Make a day of it and head to a few of these events with your friends or family to soak up the atmosphere of the peak of events season in Townsville and see why our city is renowned as a sustainable destination that embraces and participates in the arts, sports, event and recreational activities.”

Townsville Enterprise Director of Visitor Economy and Marketing, Lisa Woolfe said Townsville North Queensland's diversity is amplified by its events calendar.

"Where else can you enjoy the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, cheer on the boys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium and then compete in the Townsville Running Festival?" Mrs Woolfe said.

"The flow on effect from these events is where the value is. Our hotels, retail, cafes, restaurants and bars and our tourism operators across the region will see the benefit from this bumper to bumper weekend."

The Exercise Talisman Sabre Community Day is presented by Townsville City Council in conjunction with the Australian Defence Force and the 11 participating countries.

This free community event at Flinders Street East includes military assets and displays from Australia, New Zealand and the US with performances from the military bands, camouflage face painting, food and drinks, and more for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Mayor Jenny Hill said there would be a special remembrance for the military members whose lives were lost in the helicopter tragedy at the Whitsundays last Friday.

“At the forefront of our minds are Captain Danniel Lyon, Corporal Alexander Naggs, Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent and Warrant Officer Class Two Joseph Laycock who were tragically involved in a Taipan helicopter crash at the Whitsundays,” Cr Hill said.

“We will come together to pay tribute to these servicemen at our Community Day on Saturday and to keep their loved ones in our thoughts as investigations continue.

“As residents of a garrison city we’re all fairly used to seeing military vehicles and personnel out and about, but that’s been ramped up for the past few weeks with visiting military forces from 13 nations,” Cr Hill said.

“As a city we’re proud to be a leading centre of training, including military training for our Defence Force. As a thank you to our residents for their patience during this period we are hosting the Exercise Talisman Sabre Community Day for everyone to enjoy.

“This free event will allow residents and visitors to learn more about the role the Defence Force plays in our community and how our Defence Force works alongside other countries’ militaries.

“This will be a great day out for families, and anyone interested in learning more about our military.

“We will have a road closure at Flinders Street East for this event, from Denham Street to Wickham Street, from 6am to 5pm on Saturday. Please take care driving around the area and thank you for your patience.”

3rd Brigade Commander Brigadier David McCammon said Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 is vast in scale and the support of North Queensland communities is vital to its success.

“The backing offered by our garrison city and surrounding communities in Ingham, Charters Towers and Bowen is magnificent and humbling,” Brigadier McCammon said.

“This Community Day allows us to show our gratitude for Townsville’s enduring support to Army, the Australian Defence Force and crucial military exercises like Talisman Sabre.”

The Exercise Talisman Sabre Community Day kicks off at 9am and runs to 1pm at Flinders Street East on Saturday.

For more information on events across Townsville this weekend, head to Council’s What’s On Townsville website.

Afrekete Afro-Cuban Festival is just one of many events on offer this weekend.
Caption: Afrekete Afro-Cuban Festival is just one of many events on offer this weekend.