Top 10 things to do around the region

Published: 12 Jul 2021

The Mackay Festival of Arts is in full swing as locals prepare to celebrate all things art and culture, from silent disco tours to live performances and the ever-popular G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day. There’s also a heap of regular events being held across council facilities to ensure there’s something for everyone!

1) City Centre art walk 

Friday, July 16, from 9.30am to 10.30am 
Meet at Dudley Denny City Library
Join Artspace Mackay’s director, Tracey Heathwood, as she guides you through the Mackay City Centre iconic art installations, designed and created by some of Australia’s most talented artists. Whether you are a creator, artist or just enjoy the beauty of art, there is plenty to discover in the Mackay City Centre. Please wear a hat and comfortable shoes and bring along a bottle of water. For ages 18+. Book via

2) Friday guided walk

Friday, July 16, from 10am
Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
Join the free Friday guided walk throughout July and August and go into the draw to win a voucher from the Botanic Gardens Cafe. Walks are run every Friday and start at 10am. To book your spot, phone the gardens on 4952 7300 (bookings essential, places limited).

3) Conversations with Art  

Friday, July 16, from 1pm to 2.30pm  
Artspace Mackay
It’s a free and enjoyable discussion led by Artspace Mackay staff as we look at images of traditional and contemporary artworks from gallery and museum collections from around the world. It’s not an art theory lesson, it’s simply a casual conversation to talk about the art, deconstructing the works, considering themes, possible techniques used by the artist, and creating links with our own personal experiences. Book via

4) City Silent Disco Tours

Friday, July 16, to Sunday, July 18, at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm
Mackay City Centre 
Sing like no one is listening! Dance like nobody’s watching! Starting at the MECC, make your way through the busy streets of the Mackay CBD serenading diners and spreading happiness with the flamboyant and funny team from Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco Walking Tours, coming to the Mackay Festival of Arts for the first time. Featuring spontaneous flash mobs, interpretive dance and group singing, there are sure to be lots of fun interactions with onlookers. Slip on your supplied headphones and tune in to the hilarious guided tour through a select playlist of dance favourites from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. Tickets available at
Please note Friday 6pm and 7pm sessions are now sold out.

5) Free workshops at Caneland Central

Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, at 10am to 12pm, and 1pm to 4pm
Caneland Central
Create your own lantern or UV arts and crafts creation to be on display at DBCT Illuminate. A fun, all-ages workshop. Participants can book to attend both sessions in one day (a great idea if you want to make something large and more intricate). Children 13 years and under must be accompanied by an adult, this adult must also book in for a spot. Workshops are hosted and facilitated by local artists Lalune Croker, Cheb Jefferies, Lisa Roebig Holmes, Tracey Johnson and Wanda Bennett. Tickets available at

6) Circa presents Shaun the Sheep Circus Show

Saturday, July 17, at 6pm, and Sunday, July 18, at 10am and 1pm
The MECC Auditorium
Shaun the Sheep’s Circus Show combines the extreme physicality and awe-inspiring feats of Circa and the playful charm of the multi-award winning TV series Shaun the Sheep. This is a must-see family entertainment, packed full of smart wit, vibrant circus skills and daredevil acrobatics. Book tickets via

7) G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day

Saturday, July 17, from 10.30am to 5.30pm 
Queens Park, Mackay 
Visit Queens Park for delicious food, drinks, live music and entertainment, all on a beautiful winter’s day at G&S Engineering Wine and Food Day. Celebrating 20 years of partnership with G&S Engineering Services, Wine and Food Day returns and will showcase the talent of the Mackay region to locals and visitors. The community bars, together with an array of restaurants, cafes and festival food trucks, will be showcasing a handpicked collection of sought-after wines, beer and foodie delights. To find out more, visit

8) Made by you! How to sew a cutlery pouch

Monday, July 19, from 10am to noon
Gordon White Library
Ready to avoid single use cutlery? You will produce a cutlery pouch to take home with fundamental sewing basics. Your friends are sure to be amazed by your new skills. This even is for adults aged 18 and above. Book via

9) Artist talk – Connection, Community and Belonging

Thursday, July 22, from 10am to 11am
The MECC North Foyer
Have you ever thought of creating your own exhibition or performance, but it seems impossible? You don’t know where to start? The resources supporting Mackay artists are there, you just need to know where to look! Join us on a close-up panel discussion as experts delve into how events such as String Symphony, Mackay Festival of Arts and Artspace Mackay exhibitions come to fruition. This is a free community event. Tickets available at

10) DBCT Illuminate

Thursday, July 22, to Saturday, July 24, at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm
Caneland Park to Forgan Bridge
A rainbow sea of interactive neon wire sculptures that change shape, a network of ropes waiting to come to life and a flexible, interactive music installation await you along the Bluewater Trail. Along your journey you’ll discover community creations thanks to local artist Wanda Bennett and the talented lighting team at the MECC bring the trail to life. Tickets available at


The MECC and Opera Australia presents Bizet’s Carmen

Saturday, July 24, at 7.30pm
Carmen is the femme fatale you can’t forget. In Bizet’s famous opera, she sings her sensual Habanera and lures Don José into her world. He gives up everything to follow her. But Carmen’s wandering eye has already found a new lover: the dashing bullfighter Escamillo. Experience the thrilling Spanish colour and rhythms of Bizet’s vibrant score with Opera Australia’s singers, live chamber orchestra and a children’s chorus drawn from the local community. This new production includes gorgeous sets and vintage-inspired costumes. You can hear classics such as the Habanera and the Toreador Song. Age recommendation is over 12 years. Warning: contains mature themes including sex and domestic violence. Book tickets via


Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1, from 9am to 3pm
Unearthed brings an action-packed program over two days including Extreme Moments of Science with Dr Karl (ages 13+) and Dr Karl for Kids. This free event features STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts Maths) inspired activities, demonstrations and performances for the whole family. From Minecraft and interactive digital technologies to creative spaces, Unearthed is back with new experiences to suit all ages from the young to the young at heart. More information via