Moruya’s spectacular Riverlights Festival will return in 2022, with the event to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 19 March.
With a harbour bridge theme, spectators will see illuminated models of the iconic landmark floating down the Moruya River, bringing much-needed joy to local families, as well as attracting visitors to the region.
Moruya Business Chamber president Tim Dalrymple said the Riverlights Festival will give residents and business people something to look forward to.
“I think it will be great for the town,” Mr Dalrymple said.
“It’s been a terrible couple of years with bushfires, then COVID which just grinds on and on.
“There hasn’t been that much in the last two years for people to look forward to.”
With the Sydney Harbour Bridge anniversary on Saturday 19 March, Mr Dalrymple hopes to hold markets, food stalls and live music during the day, ahead of the evening float parade to celebrate Moruya’s link to the famous landmark.
“The chamber has been looking around for attractions, especially given the bypass going ahead, and we thought it would be great to revive the Riverlights,” he said.
“Everyone’s really enthusiastic about it, especially given the success of last year’s Luminous event in Moruya.”
The enchanting night-time floating parade was previously held during the Granite Town Festival, but Mr Dalrymple says the chamber has no plans to revive the music event last held in October 2018.
Riverlights is unique to Moruya and the chamber is in the early planning stages with the first sub-committee to be held this week.
Plans are in the pipeline for television coverage to shine a light on Moruya’s link to the bridge and showcase the region as a tourist destination.
About 17,000 cubic metres of Moruya granite was transported to Sydney by ship during the construction of the bridge from 1923 to 1932.
Mr Dalrymple said the event would be an attraction for local families, as well as drawing people from Batemans Bay, Narooma and further afield, injecting funds into the local economy.
He said following the Black Summer bushfires, many local businesses thrived, with visitors flocking to the region as part of the Spend With Them and Empty Esky campaigns.
“There were a whole bunch of businesses prior to lockdown that had their best year ever,” he explained.
“Immediately after the fires, people were coming and wanting to spend money in the town to help out, but then COVID lockdown hit and many businesses have been hit hard.
“Hopefully, by the time the Riverlights rolls around, we will have been open six months and the town will be buzzing.”
Once the subcommittee is formed, the chamber will provide more information about how to become involved and how individuals and community groups can build their floating creation.