NOT since the 1960s have organisers of the Port Fairy New Year’s Eve parade seen more than 9000 people take to the town centre.
Everything from brass bands to a gang of Ned Kellys riding horses claimed Sackville Street with up to 50 floats completely encircling the entire block for the drawcard event.
Moyneyana Festival organisers were taken aback by the bumper-to-bumper numbers.
“The actual numbers are estimated between 9000 and 10,000 people — it’s a record,” committee chairman Reg Harry said.
“We’d suggest that we haven’t had numbers like that since the late 1960s.”
With that in mind, it’s fitting that this year’s Graham Woodrup memorial prize for the best float went to the Yellow Submarine float by Pelican Waters Holiday Park — based on the iconic design from the 1968 Beatles album.
“We’re thrilled that it’s gone so well.”
“It wasn’t just people advertising, they put a lot of work in the floats.”
The Moyne also became a yellow river yesterday afternoon as a 1000 plastic yellow ducks drifted towards the finish line for the unique Port Fairy event.
The backwards race on Sackville Street offered some faster competition.
This year’s fastest time went to Mark Larney, visiting from London who made 17.6 seconds on the hundred metres reverse run.
But Mr Harry made special mention of Port Fairy local Woody Bucci who came close to winning but lost his footing towards the last step.
Lisa Williamson, of Port Fairy, claimed the women’s title at 18.75 seconds after previously failing three times in past years. “She’s very proud to have finally broken through,” Mr Harry said.
Meanwhile, Mr Harry said hundreds of hot rods were expected to roar into town next weekend.
“They’re predicting that they’ll have over 400 entries this year,” Mr Harry said.
A greater awareness of Port Fairy as a family destination, hot on the heals of the town’s liveability award, had caused a visitor swell, he said.
“There’s always some level of activity going on…all the community groups and locals realise you have to get involved to reap the benefits.”