Festival off to a roaring start

Article image - Festival off to a  roaring start Cane fires are symbolic of the Burdekin and North Queensland lifestyle.

Burdekin Shire Council, Queensland kicked off the 2021 Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival with more than 2000 people attending the First Fire at the Home Hill Showgrounds on 27 May.

The festival marks the start of the annual sugar cane crushing season, with the first crop of sugarcane in the region set alight.

The timing of this year’s event had special significance as it coincided with the announcement that Council was the winner of the Local Government Managers Association of Queensland 2021 Awards for Excellence, ‘Doing More With Less’ category, for the 2020 Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival.

The category celebrates lateral thinking, creativity and teamwork to achieve positive outcomes for Council and the community.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor, Lyn McLaughlin said the award recognised the innovative thinking of Council officers who adapted and delivered last year’s events virtually in response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to thank Local Government Managers Australia for recognising the fantastic work of Burdekin Shire Council, and congratulate the officers involved in delivering the 2020 virtual Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival which has earned us this award.

“While the physical festival requires a year of planning and a committed team of both employees and volunteers to deliver, the 2020 virtual festival was produced by a small team of Council officers in collaboration with a handful of locals and community groups to showcase drone footage of a cane fire, cultural performances, interviews with local farmers and more.

“The timing of the award is ironic – none of the Officers involved could tune in for the announcement as they are at the Home Hill Showgrounds in preparation for the 2021 festival!

“I want to commend the work of Council staff who utilised their skillsets to deliver something completely new for the Burdekin in 2020, and create a project model that could be adapted by other Councils across Australia.”