If Wednesday night’s launch of Geraldton’s newest festival was anything to go by, it’s “shore” to be a good time. Geraldton’s movers and shakers were joined by Premier Mark McGowan, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Tourism Geraldton Midwest chair Matt Rutter to launch the official program of the inaugural Shore Leave Festival, set to attract more tourists to town this May.Guests at a pop-up festival venue sampled a range of Mid West produce and products, including Illegal Tender Rum Co. mojitos and crayfish tartes, giving them a taste of the premium fare which will be showcased to festival-goers during the four-day event.Mr McGowan said the “remarkable” festival was a sign of how Geraldton had changed over the decades, and his favourite memory from his time as Premier so far was visiting the Abrolhos Islands.“So now it is just the place to go to, to enjoy and experience ... you are right in coming up with a unique local event that showcases the area, and this concept of combining food with culture, the ancient Aboriginal culture with events and adventure is a great concept,” he said.“The sorts of things you’re doing are just remarkable, including a long-table (lunch) on East Wallabi Island in the Abrolhos.“In my time as Premier, four years, the best thing I did, the most fun, the most exciting, the most memorable thing I did in the entire time was to go out to the Abrolhos and see it first-hand.”The event’s name is a nod to Geraldton’s maritime history and the connotations of holiday, leisure and adventure its organisers say is synonymous with the region.Tickets to the Shore Leave Festival have gone on sale, with the May 6-9 program including the Abrolhos long-table lunch event and a seafood dining experience hosted and curated by renowned WA chef Brendan Pratt.For more information visit shoreleavefestival.com.au Picture: Geraldton Guardian/Liam Beatty/Premier Mark McGowan.
The Shore Leave festival was officially launched at an event on Geraldton's foreshore on Wednesday. Picture: Liam Beatty/Geraldton Guardian
Alannah MacTiernan, Mark McGowan, Matt Rutter, Shane Van Styn, Rodd Little and Dr Rochelle Macdonald. Picture: Geraldton Guardian
Premier Mark McGowan spoke about the need for Geraldton to showcase it's growth. Picture: Geraldton Guardian
Shaun McInnes and Cecile O'Connor. Picture: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian
Cody Palmer, Matt Rutter and Hayley Palmer. Picture: Geraldton Guardian
Mackenzie Bignell, Jasmine McCartney and Sarah Drage. Picture: Elise Van Aken/Geraldton Guardian, Elise Van Aken