AFTER a period of event uncertainty, thousands of revellers are expected to flock to Vansittart Park tonight for the annual New Years Eve Festival.
Organisers have pledged the community driven, not-for-profit event will be bigger and better than ever following an overhaul of the Mount Gambier Community Events Committee.
Committee chair Bert Bacher said the new-look event and organising group aimed to address issues raised by community members in the past, including long lines at popular attractions.
He said this year’s event featured a range of activities and entertainment, including bumper soccer, laser tag, top putt golf, jumping castles and slides, in an effort to further reduce waiting times.
“This year will not be much different to last year but we will include more entertainment,” Mr Bacher said.
“We have decided to implement these to try and lessen the lines to other attractions such as face painting.”
Crowds will be spoiled for choice with face painting, croquet, giant noughts and crosses, jiant Jenga and a free children’s activity tent.
A major drawcard will be the Adelaide independent professional wrestling group Riot City Wrestling, who will thrill crowds with high octane acrobatics, theatrics and surprising plot twists.
Popular party band and headline act Mischief and Mayhem will be joined by Ben Hood, acoustic duo Cheap Sunnies and vocalist Alison Newman on the musical stage.
Two fireworks displays will be held at 9.15pm and midnight.
Mr Bacher said the committee was considering providing only one fireworks display in the future to help fund more entertainment.
“We are expecting the wrestling to be popular again this year,” he said.
“We are also hoping to get the Country Fire Service on board to help keep children entertained.”
Since its inception in 2010 by a small group of dedicated volunteers, the annual event has grown to become one of the premier events of the Limestone Coast’s events calendar.
The event comprises a range of activities for families and people of all ages, including live music, free children’s rides, live action wrestling displays, food and beverages and two firework displays.
Earlier this year, the future of the popular event was under a cloud with the organising committee calling for new members to join to ensure the festival continued.
A community meeting held in February resulted in eight people putting up their hand to form a new committee and enabling the event to continue in 2019/20.
In October, OneFortyOne Planatations was announced as the naming rights partner for the celebration, with the company praising the iconic event as bringing people together and “providing something that everyone can enjoy”.
The gates to Vansittart Park will open at 5.30pm and events and activities scheduled to start at 6pm.
Entry is $15 per person, $10 for concession and families of four children is $35 for the night.
The park will be closed until January 2 to allow the committee and entertainment providers to pack up.