Cooktown 2020 festival shortened to three weekends



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Marines make their way through the crowd at the re-enactment last year. Image: Cook Shire Council.

Following feedback from its stakeholders, Cook Shire Council has condensed the re-branded Cooktown Expo 2020 into a dynamic three-week program.

The Cook Shire Council-led Cooktown 2020 Festival, initially planned to be a 48-day program, was recently rebranded as the Cooktown Expo 2020, with an increased focus on building business capacity and economic development.

The 48-day program had also been condensed into a three-weekend schedule, Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said.

“The shorter program is not only much more practical from an operational point of view, but also allows tourism providers to better package their experiences for visitors,” Cr Scott said. 

Cr Scott said the Expo will not only commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s visit to Cooktown and the historic first recorded act of reconciliation, but also focus on creating opportunities to share innovation, promote progress and foster cooperation.

“The Expo still has the key theme of ‘Our Shared History’, but it also has a broader focus on business capacity building, economic development and sharing information, as well as showcasing our region through art, culture, business, agriculture and tourism.

“We want to create a biennial event which will be a forum to showcase our progressive region and inspire, challenge and educate,” he said.

Cooktown Expo 2020 will feature three weekends of significant events, across July and August 2020, each with a distinct cultural focus to promote tourism within Tropical North Queensland, such as: 

July 17 – 19: The Reconciliation Rocks Music Festival will recognise the shared history through music, song and dance and feature national and local Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.

July 24-26: The Discovery Festival will include an Indigenous showcase, art, culture, language, food, storytelling, history and the arrival of the Replica HM Bark Endeavour which will stay for two weeks and conduct shore-to-ship encounters.

August 1-4: The Endeavour Festival will highlight navigation, botany, astronomy, cartography, aviation, the Endeavour Ball and Re-enactment of Cook’s landing in 1770 and farewell of Endeavour Replica.

Council’s Director of Community, Economy and Innovation Lawrence Booth said the Expo was backed by a focused consortium of stakeholders and supporters.

“We will be working closely with our consortium members and supporters to develop the Expo 2020 program and activities, which will include ideas exchanges, forums, discussions, conferences and entertainment,” Mr Booth said. 

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