Pineapple Festival procession in the 1970s, Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club.
Pineapple Festival procession in the 1970s, Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club. Contributed

How $120 turned into $1M raised for the Capricorn Coast

ONE million dollars has been raised by Yeppoon Lions for local causes and charities since they took on the annual Yeppoon Pineapple Festival 50 years ago.

Over that period the cost of running the festival has risen from $2000 to $69,000.

The 2017 Yeppoon Lions Tropical Pinefest has been put together under the direction of club president, Glen Alexander, Pinefest committee chair, Lou Shipway and her committee members and members of the club.

Back in 1967, Yeppoon Lions bought Yeppoon Pineapple Festival for a donation of $120 to the organisation that ran the festival in 1965 and 1966, to cover a loss in the second year.

The decision was made by Yeppoon Lions Club in April 1967, only one month after formation.

The club debated the takeover for two hours and it was decided by a majority of one vote.

The newly formed club was anxious to engage in a major community project to raise funds for local causes and to gain economic benefits for tourism and business on the Capricorn Coast.

Armada of rafts preparing to do battle in the America Krapp Cup Raft Race at the Pineapple Festival.
Armada of rafts preparing to do battle in the America Krapp Cup Raft Race at the Pineapple Festival. Contributed

First initiated as a one-day festival with a street procession by Yeppoon Advancement League in 1951, it became Yeppoon Pineapple Festival when named and organised by Yeppoon Presbyterian Ladies Guild under Mrs Page and her committee from 1961 to 1964. It was taken over and run by Yeppoon Methodist Church in 1965 and 1966.

Since 1967, when the Lions first festival made a profit of $76 after repayment of the $120 donation, it grew from a one day event with a ball at night at Yeppoon Town Hall to three, then four days to include a four day exhibition and sale of art and craft by Capricorn Coast Society of Arts.

From 1978 to 2008 Lions Pineapple Festival Livingstone Shire Garden Competition was run throughout the shire with 34 different sections for judging.

By 1982, the program had grown to 10 days and was raising thousands of dollars mainly from the Pineapple Queen and Charity Princess Quest entrants (fundraising) and from Lions' art union. It continued onto 12 days including the garden competition until 2009, when a change in committee dropped the program back to three days.

In 1991, Yeppoon Lions Club adopted and registered a new name, Yeppoon Lions Tropical Pinefest and a logo, Pineapple Pete, used on Pinefest letterheads, banners and promotion material.

The quest became more corporate and genderless under the title of Ambassador entrants with winners, an Ambassador and a Charity Ambassador.

The success of Yeppoon Lions Tropical Pinefest is based on the generosity of business and media sponsors, the ability of ambassadors to raise funds, a team of 35 active Lions and help from associated businesses and community organisations.



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