Narooma BoatsAfloat traditional boat festival three weeks away

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LESS than three weeks to go and the bilges are being pumped, the hulls are being cleaned and the motors are tuning up for Narooma BoatsAfloat – the 8th annual celebration of traditional boats held on pristine Wagonga Inlet.

Organising committee president Smile Magill is feeling pleased with the plans for the 2013 event to be held on the weekend of November 2-3..

“This year the public can look forward to all the regular colourful Saturday festivities in Forsters Bay with the added bonus of a MACS-organised art exhibition where local artists exhibit works on a nautical or marine theme in a couple of the classic boatsheds on the water's edge,” he said.

Everybody is invited on Saturday at 10am with the opening of “Art in the Boatsheds” – you'll find the sheds are just to the south of Narooma Marina in Forsters Bay, with the exhibition continuing though to 5pm.

The familiar festival sound of the boats putt-putting back from their morning cruise will happen from 12.30pm when everyone is invited to have a stickybeak, meet the skippers and generally “mess about with boats”.

At 2pm the atmosphere gets even better as everyone enjoys live “Jazz on the Water” with The Jazz Pack.

Sunday is of course the now famous and much anticipated “Grand Parade of Boats” - from 10.30am the fleet will head off from Forsters Bay, cross the inlet, cruise down the channel, and from roughly 11am motor under the bridge before circling in front of the Mill Bay boardwalk for everybody's enjoyment.

The committee reports that already they have 30 entered boats, from as far south as Newborough in Victoria and as far north as Lake Macquarie, with a good contingent of ACT boats and one from the Blue Mountains as well.

And after asking, it can report that yes, the wonderful sound of the steamboat “Choof n' Puff” from Cronulla will echo around the inlet for the weekend, adding to the purr of diesels, the putter of classic petrol engines and the slap of sails and paddles!

Local and visiting boaties will enjoy a program of social events and cruises and even a “Buy-Swap-Sell” session this year, as well as the traditional festival dinner and fund-raising auction on the Saturday night.

“Our festival brings like-minded people together in this beautiful boating environment and showcases our town each year. It has become a real part of the boating calendar,” Smile said.

“It also adds colour, character and business to the local tourism year and who knows - perhaps we might break our record of 50 boats set last year?

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