Queensland Rugby League, in partnership with The Star Entertainment Group, announced the launch of MAROON FESTIVAL, an all-new, free community event that will commence on Sunday 28th May until Wednesday 31st May.
In the lead-up to the 2017 Holden State of Origin Series, Brisbane will swell with Queensland pride as proud and passionate fans of all ages gather at South Bank to celebrate not just Rugby League, but the very best of Queensland.
Over the last 36 years, State of Origin has become an intergenerational lightning rod for Queensland spirit, a time when people from all backgrounds across the state come together and unite as one, not just as Rugby League and Maroons team supporters, but immensely proud and passionate Queenslanders.
QRL Chairman Bruce Hatcher says the inaugural Maroon Festival will generate an amazing atmosphere across the city as the XXXX Queensland Maroons prepare 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," says Mr Hatcher.
"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 our principal and presenting partner, The Star Entertainment Group and our major partners, The Queensland Government and the NRL."
Mr Hatcher believes there is enormous potential to expand the event in future years.
"Our vision for the Festival revolves around an extended schedule of events and activity across a full week," he says.
"The ultimate aim is to make the Maroon Festival a must visit event on our calendar and provide a reason for Queenslanders and tourists alike to get involved on an annual basis."
The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director Queensland Geoff Hogg says the company is proud to support the inaugural event, which will celebrate Queensland's passion and unique spirit.
"Since 2015, The Star has been the Official Partner of the QRL, and our Treasury Brisbane and Jupiters Gold Coast properties have been proud to be the home of the XXXX Queensland Maroons during State of Origin," says Mr Hogg.
"There's a reason 'Queenslander' has become a well-known catch cry amongst us all, with the game reminding us of how great it is to live, work, and play here.
"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 – including a variety of entertainment and being able to taste the best of Queensland's unique produce."
Maroon Festival will have something for everyone, kicking off on Sunday 28th May with the Maroon Team in attendance for the Maroon River Parade & Fan Day and culminating with a huge live broadcast of Game 1 at the Holden State of Origin Series Live Site at South Bank.
In between, Maroon Festival will celebrate our history, our community and our lifestyle with four action-packed days of free festivities for the whole family.
The inaugural Maroon Festival Program includes:
Maroon River Parade & Fan Day where people can celebrate their team and watch their heroes in person as the 2017 XXXX Queensland Maroons sail down the Brisbane River and dock at South Bank on Sunday 28th May.
A Holden State of Origin Series Live Site, where the 2017 State of Origin Game I will be broadcast on the big screen for FREE. Queenslanders will be able to watch and celebrate the game with thousands of other excited fans in a family-friendly setting.
A Queenslander Stage & Forecourt, where Festival-goers can relax and enjoy the footy-themed entertainment happening on the stage, including game shows, match replays, fun interactions for the kids and live panels featuring Former Origin Greats.
A Legends Walk where fans can hunt down and collect Former Origin Greats through an exciting, new augmented reality treasure hunt experience or have their photo taken in the Maroon Festival Locker room, with a life-sized replica of the one at Suncorp Stadium.
On top of this, there will also be a Health & Wellness Green, where aspiring Queensland foodies big and small can enjoy nutritious food, fun workshops and special performances for kids, along with a Fit & Fun Zone where mini-maroon fans can learn some great sports based skills and get moving.
With the backdrop of the Brisbane River, there will be a Waterfront Garden Bar, serving an all-Queensland menu of iconic family favourites made with local produce from across the state. Some of Brisbane's best local food vendors will also be making an appearance at the Tastes of QLD Food Stalls, serving special signature dishes that celebrate Queensland produce and ingredients.
The Queensland Government is proud to be a major partner of Maroon Festival and encourages all Queenslanders to come out and enjoy one of the State's largest sporting events in a family friendly environment.
"It is a chance to celebrate everything it means to be a proud Queenslander and reflect on all the wonderful qualities of our State, our inclusiveness and diversity," says Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"With Queensland Day held annually on 6 June, we have worked closely with Queensland Rugby League to ensure the Maroon Festival reinforces State pride and our generous spirit that comes from watching the Mighty Maroons in action."
Maroon Festival is also pleased to announce that Former Origin Great, Petero Civoniceva, is the official community ambassador for Maroon Festival 2017. Petero is a Rugby League legend and all-round great Queenslander, who played 33 Origin games during his impressive 14-year career as a professional footballer.
View the full Maroon Festival program now at maroonfestival.com.au