A SUMMER boat and light festival proposed to begin next year in Lake Macquarie over the Christmas and New Year period aims to attract more than 100,000 people.
The Flotilla of Lights Festival is planned to run for more than a month, with main events on New Year’s Eve, Australia Day and the annual Carols by Candlelight event at Speers Point Park.
Cr Jason Pauling will call for options at a council meeting tonight on how the council could help ‘‘establish a world-class festival in Lake Macquarie’’.
‘‘The flotilla will be a spectacular festival of events, unique in Australia,’’ Cr Pauling said.
Festival organiser Greg Hopper, who is Warners Bay Chamber of Commerce president, said the event had become ‘‘bigger than Ben Hur’’.
‘‘It will be the biggest regional event in Australia,’’ Mr Hopper said.
It would cost at least $500,000, with money to be sought from state and federal governments, the council and corporate sponsors. Seed money is needed to start the event.
The flotilla would move around the lake throughout the month, putting on shows in different areas at night.
It would include a ‘‘mother ship’’ of big screens, a light show, yachts with illuminated sails, floating “light-art sculptures’’ and a flotilla of boats draped in Christmas lights.
A ‘‘light-art gallery’’ would be on the lake shore.
A large circle of fireworks would be set up on the lake on New Year’s Eve.
Sydney’s Vivid Light Festival is interested in becoming involved.
In future years, the festival plans to stage an air show and pageant over the lake to recognise the city’s aviation history.
Cr Pauling said the festival would boost the city’s economy and aimed to attract more than 100,000spectators and 5000 overnight visitors in its first year.
‘‘The festival will be a powerful tourism draw, capable of commanding national media attention in years to come,’’ he said.
Similar events are held in San Diego, North Carolina, Seattle and Tokyo Bay, Japan.
PART OF THE SHOW
A ‘‘mother ship’’ of big screens
A large light show
Yachts with illuminated sails
Floating light-art sculptures
A flotilla of boats draped in Christmas lights
A light-art gallery on the lake shore
New Year’s Eve fireworks on a large circle in the lake
The flotilla moves around the lake each night
Finale on Australia Day
Air show and pageant in future