Thursday 23rd - Monday 27th January 2003

Fun and excitement

Welcome to the home of the Port Lincoln Tunarama Festival, the Premier Regional Festival of South Australia. We hope you enjoy your stay. Click on the links below for more information.

Tourism Significance
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Family Fun

The Tunarama Festival began in 1962, and is primarily aimed at the family market, with free entertainment, competitions and contests being organised for all age groups. Since it's inception, Tunarama has been held over the Australia Day long weekend, the original idea to help promote the tuna industry, which was just emerging in Port Lincoln. This date also coincided with the fishing fleet putting to sea. 

Nowadays, with increased technology and the advent of the Aquaculture industry, (which has seen the end of the tuna poling method) the tuna fishing operations in Port Lincoln have changed, but the Festival goes on celebrating one of our biggest and most lucrative industries. Port Lincoln is also home to Australia's largest Tuna Cannery being Port Lincoln Tuna Processors who along with John West are the major sponsors of our event.
The festival is a community-based event, which is usually funded by sponsorship from businesses, tourism bodies and local councils.

Conservative estimates have put the Tunarama crowds between 20,000 to 25,000 people, which more than doubles the town's population. Demand for accommodation in Port Lincoln and surrounds during the festival period is high, with countless visitors staying with friends and relatives. Tunarama plays a vital role in encouraging return visitation to the Eyre Peninsula.

2002 celebrates our 41st Festival giving us the status as being one of the state's largest and enduring regional events. 2002 inclusions as follows:
Tunarama Race Meeting, held at the picturesque Ravendale Racecourse. Tunarama have included this race meeting on our calendar to increase the variety of events and entertainment already being offered. 

The head of the crowd pleasers would have to be the World Champion Tuna Toss & guest personalities. This is an undisputable highlight of the Tunarama Festival with competitors travelling from far and wide in an effort to gain the coveted title or to at least "have a go". The world record for this event is 37.23 metres set in 1998 by ex Olympic Hammer Thrower, Sean Carlin. The weight of the tuna for this event is approx 8 kilos for both Men and Women.

Well-known comedian Mark Mitchell (alias Con the Fruiterer) was last year's special guest personality. Past guest comperes have included Red & Wilbur and Russell Gilbert. Our 2002 special guest will be Mr Merv Hughes, Cricketer extraordinaire. 

The judging of the Quest entrants is another popular tradition. The John West Gala Awards are staged for the announcement of the winners of such coveted titles as Tunarama Ambassador of the Year and Highest Fundraiser, with high profile comperes and quality entertainment. 

For the music lovers we have a variety of indoor and outdoor concerts featuring well-known Australian bands as well as local artists. The Batlofthabanz competition will see its second event being well contested in 2002.

The Tunarama Rodeo is a major drawcard, catering for Country Music Lovers with the "Country on Eyre" concert at the rodeo grounds. Our 2002 rodeo will feature the "Neil Diamond - Hot August Night" show, plus well-known Tricia Wilson & Midnight Mountain Blue. 

There are a variety of Arts and cultural events including various displays, and an Arts & Heritage Trail showcasing the works and talents of local Artists and a number of historical sites. 

During the festivities there will also be a spectacular display of Fire Works off the foreshore, with the blue waters of Boston Bay as a backdrop. 

A favourite event for all the family would be the Street Procession, held on the Saturday of the Festival. Local businesses, organisations and individuals enter colourful floats. The Festival Quest Entrants are also paraded in this event. 

Eyre Peninsula Alive a large church based group of volunteers, working from the Bank SA Tent are an integral part of our children's entertainment and offer a varied and exciting program keeping the hordes of children highly entertained through Face Painting, Arts and crafts, Hat & Rope Making workshops, Games, interactive concerts and much more. All of this in a free of charge secure and safe environment, what more could mum and dad ask for.

Other popular events include the Tug-of-War and wheat sheaf tossing competitions, the Slippery Pole contest and the Beach Girl Competition

Another recent inclusion is a major Fishing Competition, with both land based and open boat - fishing sections. Excellent prize money is on offer for this event and should attract those fishing enthusiasts looking for some extra excitement. Southern Bluefin Tuna are plentiful in the bay at this time of the year so the results will be worth waiting for. 

There are a vast variety of sites situated along the foreshore, which offer everything from food to Art and Craft and entertainment.

Whatever you are doing over the Australia Day public holiday weekend in January, ensure that you don't miss Regional South Australia's biggest and most popular event, the John West Tunarama Festival.

New Address - Bowling Avenue
For further information please contact the following: 
Phone: (08) 86821300 Fax: (08) 86830338 
Email: [email protected]
Dates for our next Festival are  23rd to 27th January 2005..

Photos supplied by Tunarama Committee.