Twilight City Street Party a Bittersweet Celebration

By Heidi Petith

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  1. Thousands of Mackay locals packed the City Centre on 29 August as they came together to celebrate the Twilight City - Beyond Your Imagination Street Party.
  2. The second annual, free, family event was meant to signal the end of a $18.6 million revitalisation construction project as part of Mackay Regional Council's aim to turn the CBD into the 'centrepiece of our city' .
  3. The enduring erected construction fencing and roadworks was a reminder to locals the project had still not come to an end, more than a year after last year's street party signalled its beginning.
  4. This had taken a significant toll on local businesses, including Carrolls Newsagency, a business that has resided on main Victoria Street for over 80 years.
  5. Juanita and Daryl Shepperson, the fourth owners of Carrolls Newsagency, said the revitalisation project had been difficult for them, emotionally and financially.
  6. "Our staff numbers over the back to school periods would usually be around 35-40, but because of the roadworks, business has been slow," Mrs Shepperson said.
  7. "We struggled keeping 12-14 employees."
  8. Mr Shepperson said businesses in the city centre had been struggling with attracting clientele as many were opting to shop at nearby Canelands Shopping Centre due to inconveniences caused by continuing roadworks and obstructions.
  9. The preceeding photo illustrates the limited access experienced by businesses in the City Centre throughout the project. This photo was taken along Victoria Street, just outside of Carroll's Newsagency.
  10. Mayor Deidre Comerford said the project was a significant investment for the region and that she hoped the party would bring locals together, also hinting at three further suprises for locals to be revealed in early October.
  11. The party, spread out throughout the City Centre, featured an extensive 10 community stalls, 21 market stalls and 25 different food and beverage stalls.
  12. The City Centre has long been host to a range of local restaurants including Mexican, Italian, and Singaporean flavours just to name a few. The Twilight Party gave them a chance to open their doors to a large audience and showcase their cuisines.
  13. The "Animating Spaces Mackay UP!" project came to life along the moonlit river backdrop with UV lanterns hanging under the pier and many more paraded along the boardwalk.
  14. Locals had spent hours in the month prior bending bamboo and applying paper mache to create their 'under the sea' themed creatures for the parade, as well as the thousands of lorikeets seen hanging in the city alley.
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