Free fireworks to launch Festival of Sails

The City of Greater Geelong and the Royal Geelong Yacht Club will provide a free fireworks celebration over Corio Bay to mark the start of the Festival of Sails regatta.

The fireworks will be held at 9:30pm on Saturday 22 January to celebrate the start of the five-day regatta, which runs until Wednesday 26 January.

Deputy Mayor Trent Sullivan said the Council is funding the free fireworks as it ramps up its support for major events across the Greater Geelong region.

“We hope families come to the waterfront because it’s going to be a cracker night,” Cr Sullivan said.

“The festival will be a little different this year because of COVID-19 restrictions but we’re hoping people make the most of the sailing, spectacular fireworks and free live music on offer in venues across Central Geelong.”

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club normally holds a free firework display on Australia Day, but the display has been brought forward this year, with the support of the City, to boost the appeal of the historic sailing event and to help families enjoy free entertainment on a Saturday night.

“The regatta has a proud tradition dating back to 1844 and it really puts the spotlight on Geelong and our beautiful waterfront,” Cr Sullivan said.

“The race normally attracts around 300 yachts and 4,500 sailing competitors to Geelong over the Australia Day holiday period. The fireworks and the entertainment program will provide a much-needed boost for Geelong businesses and artists.”

Festival of Sails Chairman Roger Bennett welcomed the return of the fireworks and thanked the City of Greater Geelong for its support.

“We’re really delighted to see the annual fireworks back on the program for all the community to enjoy,” he said.

“As a major event which would normally attract thousands of people, COVID-19 is continually forcing us to rethink our approach and innovate to allow us to deliver a safe -albeit different – regatta for everyone.”

Mr Bennett said this year’s regatta entertainment will include an initiative called ‘Gigs by Festival of Sails‘ where more than 40 bands will be performing at venues throughout the Geelong CBD across the five-nights of the regatta.

“While the conditions of 2022 have meant we can’t deliver our traditional Waterfront festival this year, we’re hoping our Gigs program will give our local live music, hospitality and events industry a bit of a boost with free entertainment for the community.”

COVID-safe guidelines for the event include:

  • Practising good hygiene and regularly and thoroughly washing your hands.
  • Wearing a face mask if you are unable to maintain distance of at least 1.5 metres from others.
  • There may be large crowds, so please be patient in queues and maintain distance from others where possible.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, get tested and isolate until negative.

Pet owners are asked to ensure that their animals are safe and secure during the fireworks display.

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