Float your boat, show your (free-) style or just chill at the Kowie River Festival

Family fun and sporting action will come together on Port Alfred’s Kowie River in the town’s inaugural Kowie River Festival on Devcember 28, 2023. The event, held under the auspices of Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT), incorporates the Marina Swim* and the popular Anything That Floats.

Anything that Floats (ATF) is just that. Past years have seen swans, sharks and even sofas (all the blow-up floatable variety) sailing down the Kowie River in this colourful event. This year’s ATF starts at Kiddies Beach at low tide, 10.30am.

The 1km (not one mile) swim starts at the Halyards Hotel at 3pm (follow Talk of the Town’s website and Facebook page where we’ll post registration details) and from 3pm to 8pm there’s live music on the water at Tash’s: bring your boat an listen from the water, or get yourself a table at Tash’s to listen to Candice Juhl and Joe van der Linden.

At 5pm the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Port Alfred Station 11 members will conduct a training and rescue exercise.

NSRI volunteers on standby at the 2022 Kowie River Mile. They will again be on hand for the Marina Miole which will be incorporated in the Kowie River Festival on December 28 023. Picture (December 2023): SUE MACLENNAN

Tickets for the Kowie River Festival are on sale at Sports n’n All, Sunshine Coast Spar, Pick n Pay and Tash’s Craft Bar.

Ed Gutsche, who together with Lauren Meyer works in SCT’s marketing, events and special projects portfolio, said they’d become aware that there was very little happening on the river during that period.

“Sunshine Coast Tourism has corporate sponsors who pay more for their membership than normal members. We’re funding the festival through a portion of those corporate memberships,” Gutsche told Talk of the Town. “And we will still have funds for special projects next year.

“This year, because it’s the first one, the Kowie River Festival will be quite small, but we plan to grow it bigger in 2024.”

All proceeds from the event would go to the NSRI, Gutsche said.

“We’re assured by the municipality that the river will be clean for the swim.

“And there are lots of prizes going: cash prizes for the men’s and women’s winners of the swim, and lots of others.”

The events sponsors and service providers together with Sunshine Coast Tourism are Leach Pharmacy, BUCO, Tash’s, arcourts, the Royal Alfred Marina, the Port Alfred River and Ski Boat Club, NSRI Port Alfred Station 11, Halyards Hotel and Spa, Kowie Toyota, Pam Golding Properties, Multi Security Services, Edge Financial Group, Sunshine Coast SPAR, Pick n Pay Port Alfred, Stenden SA, Royal St Andrew’s Hotel.

*An earlier version of this article referred to the Kowie River Mile. This is a separate event. THe Kowie RIver Mile will be in 2024. We apoligise for ther confusion.