January 1983: The Manning River Aquatic Festival enjoyed one of its best returns, despite the fact the Australian economy was struggling.
The five nights and three days of the festival grossed around $47,500 compared to $42,500 in 1982.
“There was a rise in admission prices this year but the figures still indicate a slight rise in attendance,’’ Aquatic Association treasurer Bob Riseborough told the Times.
Association president Warren Ruprecht said the attendance was excellent when the present state of the economy is compared to 12 months ago.
Although crowds for the first three nights were disappointing, they picked up dramatically over the weekend.
Sideshow operators ended up with takings about five percent above those of last year.
There were 17 candidates in the Aquatic Queen competition won by Georgina McPherson.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m proud to be an ambassador for Taree,’’ Georgina said.
“Taree is a great town, a pretty place and it has a tremendous atmosphere.’’
However, there was a mild criticism.
“The 1983 Manning River Aquatic Festival parade could be likened to a rainbow after a storm - a splash of colour on a frequently grey background,’’ a Times staff reporter wrote in an opinion piece in the Tuesday February 1 edition.
“The profusion of trade exhibits tended to overshadow brighter, lighter and more original efforts. Perhaps is was the recession. Perhaps other problems had dampened the creative spirit of many entrants - whatever the reason the overall impression disappointed many.’’