I was away on holidays when the Mount Isa Rodeo committee made the decision earlier this year to cancel the Friday night Mardi Gras at Buchanan Park.
I understood the public disappointment though I also saw the Rodeo Committee’s point of view and it immediately struck me that given most people wanted the Mardi Gras in the city centre anyway that a good compromise would be to combine it with the Wednesday night street party.
So I was pleased to hear a few days later the Mount Isa City Council had agreed to include a parade in their street festival. The term “Mardi Gras” had been quietly dropped (the original French means “Fat Tuesday”, strictly speaking neither Wednesday nor Friday were appropriate!) and the float size was capped due to narrower streets but the parade would live on.
Nominations were slow coming in but a few last minute entries meant it was a lively affair and the 5000 plus crowd lined the route on Wednesday to cheer it on.
There were teething difficulties – particularly navigating the short but potentially dangerous stretch of highway between Camooweal and Miles Streets – but it was a great success and I hope will become a permanent part of Rodeo Week festivities.
Congratulations also to the council for putting on the Jessica Mauboy concert. What a perfect way to end a night. Ms Mauboy has real star quality and you just knew she was genuine when she said it was special for her to be performing here. Her many fans in the city lapped it up.
On Thursday I missed the poet’s breakfast (our journalist Chris Burns was there and recited a poem) but I did enjoy the Mailman Express that night. The queues for drink tickets were long but that showed the huge size of the crowd rather than any organisation failures and behaviour was very good as far as I could see.
Now it is into the Rodeo itself. And I could not think of a more appropriate time for our long-serving sales manager Peter Baldwin to say goodbye to the North West Star. After 20 years he and wife Jane are re-locating to Victoria and he was great servant not only to the paper but also to the Rodeo as a stalwart committee member and Art Union ticket seller extraordinaire. Go well, Peter, you’ll be sadly missed by everyone here – Derek Barry