New festival set to celebrate Maroons
Rugby League: Queensland Rugby League last week announced the launch of the Maroon Festival to run from Sunday, May 28 to Wednesday, May 31 at South Bank, Brisbane.
The free community event will run in the lead-up to the opening match of the 2017 State of Origin Series, with the QRL and NRL hoping to draw on the passion of Queensland rugby league fans.
QRL Chairman Bruce Hatcher said the inaugural Maroon Festival would generate an amazing atmosphere across the city as the Queensland Maroons prepared for the crucial opening match of the series at Suncorp Stadium.
"The concept of harnessing and amplifying this passion and pride with an inclusive, community festival has been taking shape for some time,” Hatcher said.
"The Festival will extend the State of Origin Series experience for fans beyond the game, attracting more visitors to Queensland and creating economic opportunities for Brisbane and the greater south-east.
"The QRL is excited to bring this event to life with the support of The Star Entertainment Group and our major partners, The Queensland Government and the NRL.”
Hatcher had no qualms in counting his chickens before they hatched, claiming there was already potential to expand the fledgling event in future years.
"Our vision for the Festival revolves around an extended schedule of events and activity across a full week,” Hatcher said.
"The ultimate aim is to make the Maroon Festival a must-visit event on our calendar and provide a reason for Queenslanders and tourists to get involved on an annual basis.”
The Star Entertainment Group Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg echoed Hatcher's sentiments.
"There is a reason 'Queenslander' has become a well-known catch-cry among us all, with the game reminding us of how great it is to live, work and play (in Queensland),” Hogg said.
"The Maroon Festival will be a great way to celebrate our legendary team but also provide something for everyone through its huge program of activities.”
The Maroon Festival kicks off on Sunday, May 28 with the Maroon side in attendance for the Maroon River Parade & Fan Day, and culminates in a live broadcast of Game One of the State of Origin Series.
The inaugural program also includes a Legends Walk, where fans use augmented reality to track down former Origin greats, a life-sized replica of the Maroons' Suncorp Stadium dressing room, a "Fit & Fun Zone” for the kids, a Waterfront Bar, Tastes of QLD food stalls and a host of other attractions.