Posts Tagged ‘Festivals’

Who remembers Dragon?

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Well, the big new this week - from outside the Cairns Unlimited world - revolves around the horse racing industry. A potentially dangerous case of equine flu has been detected among racehorses in Sydney, and in an event surely unprecedented in Australian history, horse racing has been suspended across the country. The timing could be devastating for the Australian racing industry, right on the eve of the biggest event on the racing calendar - the Spring Racing Carnival, which culminates in the world famous Melbourne Cup.

Still on horse racing, the upcoming Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival has been at the head of local news for all the wrong reasons. If you’re not familiar with the Cairns Amateurs, here’s a snippet of text I copied from Maria’s amazingly comprehensive TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND EVENTS CALENDAR…

The Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival is an annual event held around the second Saturday in September. A small meeting in 1959, designed to bring city and country together, has expanded over the years to become one of Australia’s premier Spring horse racing carnivals.The Carnival, held in the tropical North Queensland city of Cairns, focuses around two days of horse racing. It is complemented by a great variety of social activities, some formal and some very informal.Cairns Amateurs has something for everyone: horse racing, fashion, socialising and celebrities. Social events include Members-only and corporate functions over the two days, as well as events and areas for the general public on both race days. The beautiful mild September climate entices large crowds to enjoy the racing and entertainment conducted at the course.

Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival.

But the thing that has everyone hopping mad this year is the imposed ESKY ban at the event. Heavy handed State Government Liquor Licensing bureaucrats, who can’t stand to see hard working Queenslanders actually out enjoying themselves, have banned the bringing of alcoholic drinks into the event, instead forcing punters to leave their tents and queue up for drinks at the bar. regular racegoers insist that the bar facilities will not be able to cope with the increased numbers, and predict that punters will spend most of their day queued at the bar.

A number of tent bookings have already been cancelled in the wake of the threat, including one booking for 80 people from the staff social club at Irelands car dealership. Liquor Licensing are also proposing to refuse entry to under 18’s. Event organizers say that if an adults-only rule is enforced, it will be the first time in the 49-year history of the Amateurs, which were set up to bring together families from all over the region. Cairns Unlimited wants to know: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO JUST CAN’T LET US ENJOY OURSELVES? WILL THEY EVER JUST LEAVE US ALONE?

We say that even the phrase ‘ESKY BAN’ is downright un-Australian, and anyone proposing such a thing should be immediately deported. We give heavy handed, spoilsport, party-pooping, bureaucrats the Cairns Unlimited ‘Big Thumbs Down’.

On a far more pleasant note, one member of the Cairns Unlimited team took an enjoyable trip down memory lane last week, when iconic 80’s rock band Dragon came to town. I must admit, i didn’t have huge expectations. After all, these guys must be over 100 years old by now. Well, we jostled with the crowd at the Reef Casino’s Vertigo Bar waiting for the ageing rock legends to make their appearance. The first piece they played was pretty dull and uninspiring, and kind of confirmed my preconceptions that they were indeed over the hill. I looked at my watch.

Dragon, in another time and place.

But that was the last time I looked at my watch. The band immediately launched into one of their greatest hits “Get that Jive”, and after that, they never looked back. When the first few notes of “April Sun in Cuba” belted out, the crowd broke loose and, apart from the rather unusual mix of dancing styles (to say the least) I would have to say that the energy levels almost approached that of a crowd of Spaniards. Maria is free to disagree. All in all, a fantastic concert and a nostalgic reminder of a time of my life when the most important thing in the world was my HQ GST Monaro. I give Dragon the Cairns Unlimited ‘Big Thumbs Up’ and hope they made it back to the retirement village safely.

Dragon, live at Cairns Reef Casino.

Now, what else is new? Maria and I have been doing a little wine sampling over the last week or so. Our friends at DREAMTIMES WINES furnished us with a couple of bottles of their fortified tropical fruit wines; the first a very sweet Passionfruit Port, and the second a semi-sweet Mango Port. Maria has more of a sweet tooth that I do, so the Passionfruit Port was a tad rich for my taste. Having said that, I did take a small glass of it after dinner each night until the bottle was empty! The Mango Port disappeared even faster, and I’m not sure if Maria had the chance to even try it. Looking back, I’m surprised to say that I probably preferred the Passionfruit Port. Although too sweet to drink in large quantities (unless drizzled over ice… now why didn’t I think of that before?) it is the perfect after dinner drink or as an accompaniment to a strong coffee. So while I’m on a roll, I’ll give Dreamtime Wines a Cairns Unlimited ‘Big Thumbs Up’, and then sign off.

If you didn’t know that Tropical North Queensland produced wine, or you’re intrigued by the idea of wines and liqueurs made from tropical fruits such as mangos, lychees and jaboticabas… well, you won’t want to miss our WINERIES page!