Tropical Fruits – a raging success
Tropical Fruits event co-ordinator Shane Duniam is understandably proud that the New Year's Eve event at the Lismore Showground went off with a bang, plenty of fireworks and fabulous costumes, but without any injuries or violence.
"The party was an absolute sellout and a smash hit. Out at the showground it was emergency-free, not one incident, the police weren't called and the ambulance did not leave the site. It's a trouble-free event. We really self-manage and we take care of each other," Shane said. "It was one of prettiest parties we have ever done and people came from all over Australia and the world, and really got the Northern Rivers vibe - they really chilled and had a nice time. We had 300 volunteers who all worked their pink fingers off!"
Shane had only the highest praise for the local police but said the presence of cops and a sniffer dog turned out to be unnecessary.
"There's a bit of a joke going around, 'How many police does it take to find a joint at Tropical Fruits?'
"We had 10 men and a dog for an hour-and-a-half, on double time at the public expense, and they found one joint and no conviction was laid. This police state Sydney has inflicted on us is a bit over the top.
"We would like to thank the local police command though - they were really, really supportive throughout the whole event and continue to be, and we want to continue that open relationship with them."
City centre manager Katie O'Rourke said over the New Year's Eve party, recovery party and film festival, more than 5000 visitors flowed into Lismore, injecting around $2.8 million into the economy.
"Everything was 100% booked out - it's exciting for Lismore to be part of because there's huge economic benefit across accommodation, food and retail, but also because it showcased the region across Australia on a broader scale," Katie said. "The Tropical Fruits team put on such a fabulous event and that's why people keep coming back year after year. It does a lot for Lismore on a number of levels. It puts us on the map and gives people a sense of what the city and the region has to offer."
Shane said he also wanted to thank the people of Lismore, who gave Tropical Fruits party-goers such a warm welcome.
"The Tropical Fruits committee would really like to thank the community for its support - everyone from out of town said how friendly and welcoming everyone was. The smiles and the waves during the parade through town - it was a great boost for our confidence that the whole community was so hospitable. And we hope those businesses who opened up were really rewarded for their efforts," Shane said. "I'm looking at the site now and it's sad to see the beautiful bubble we created being dismantled but as the glitter settles we are all looking forward to rejoining our lives. Let's all work together Lismore to make 2012 a fun, safe and inclusive year!"