Make your own creatures for an underwater wonderland

A turtle the size of a city bus is coming to the Botanic Gardens for the Mackay Festival of Arts.

The 15-metre, 375-kilogram inflatable black and white turtle, named Alphie, is a creation of Queensland artist BJ Price.

The turtle will be just one of the giant whimsical sea creatures at this year’s DBCT Illuminate spectacular.

There will also be a three-metre crocodile lit by multi-coloured mesh lights, a five-metre water dragon and assorted other creative creatures of the seas.

Cr Justin Englert said residents were invited to the Garden’s amphitheatre this week to take part in a series of workshops where everything from luminous fish to lagoon monsters would be created.

“Kicking off this Wednesday (July 10) and running from 10am to 3pm daily on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, these workshops are a great way to make your own contribution to this feature Festival event,” Cr Englert said.

“I know we say it every year, but I think this year’s DBCT Illuminate will be the most spectacular yet,” he said. “Especially with the help of our creative residents.”

Workshop coordinator Wanda Bennett said the only thing participants needed to bring was their creativity.

“We are aiming to build an underwater wonderland this year, so we are challenging participants to use their imagination,” Ms Bennett said.

“The aim is to create lots of UV 3D lanterns shaped like fish, jellyfish and crabs – you name it, if it lives under the sea, we can make it,” she said.

DBCT Illuminate is a free Festival of Arts event that lights up the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens from Monday, July 22, to Friday, July 26.  It will run nightly from 6pm to 9pm.

Cr Englert said DBCT Illuminate would be more than just a static viewing experience this year.

“There’ll be plenty of food on offer, including tasty platters, and a host of on-stage entertainment at the amphitheatre as well as roving circus entertainers,” he said.

“Rumour has it Sensory Circus are bringing a boat and will be battling a fish ‘as big as a person’ at the event.

“The Jack Sturgeon Stage entertainment will include band Three Way Crossing and all the local talent that is usually on display at the Lunchbox Concerts in Canelands.

“So, bring a chair or picnic blanket, grab a platter and settle in under the stars after you’ve explored the illuminated wonderland.”

Cr Englert said organisers had also taken feedback about parking from last year’s event into consideration.

“We’ve tripled parking and we are opening up the paddock beside the main parking area, which has given us around 500 more parks.”

To order a mini share platter for two from Plattered Up for the event or for more information, head to www.themecc.com.au/mackayfestivals/mfoa_2019

DBCT Illuminate will only be accessible from the Meadowlands Amphitheatre side, via Crowleys Road.

There will be no access via Lagoon Street pathways or Nebo Road. These areas will be fenced off.