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10 October, 2020

Weekend Getaway - Cooktown Expo: The Rising Tide

When the COVID-19 Pandemic was announced and the world went into isolation, and governments ordered the closure of theatres, festivals, concerts and other mass gatherings, organisers of this year’s highly anticipated Cooktown Expo 2020 had little choice other than to postpone the event until 2021.

Now, with a fresh format, new Creative Director (Vanessa Gillen, formally the General Manger at CIAF), and an empowering new focus, word across the Cape is that next year’s Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 – The Rising Tide is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet. 

 While the 2020 event centred around the 250-year commemoration of James Cook’s arrival to Cooktown, the Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021 theme – The Rising Tide – is a reference to the first recorded act of reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians and celebrates the shared history, heritage and culture of the Cape with a vision to educate, delight and inspire. 

 Next year’s event has also been designed to be a catalyst for regional economic renewal: the dynamic new format will showcase Far North Queensland and Cape York’s history, culture, visual and performing arts, agriculture and businesses – with an emphasis on the synergy and diversity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses across the Cape. 

 The new format that will take place in Cooktown from June 11-20, 2021, includes ten days of predominantly free events, that kick off with with the Reconciliation Rocks Concert, featuring Busby Marou, Troy Cassar-Daly and Mau Power, as well as several popular local artists, dancers and performers. 

From June 14-17, the Cape York Business Expo will bring local, regional and state businesses together to network, promote and showcase their products and services with the vision that this will help foster creative tourism and business ventures and stronger partnerships between Cape York, Far North Queensland and Indigenous communities. 

 The Business Expo will also provide unique opportunities to promote participating businesses to wider audiences locally, nationally and internationally. For the final, closing weekend, Cooktown will host its signature and ever-popular Discovery Festival that promises seafood luncheons, the Endeavour Ball, a re-enactment of Cook’s landing and his first interactions with the Indigenous Guugu Yimithirr people and a spectacular Cooktown Cantata held in the beautiful surrounds of Cooktown’ Botanic Gardens. 

There are also markets, workshops, streets parades, exhibitions, a children’s carnival and so much more in store. With such a diverse program of events, there really will be something for everyone at the Cooktown & Cape York Expo 2021. And, with the increased daily flight services from Cairns to Cooktown, and a huge array of accommodation options to choose from, now really is the time to book your mid-year escape to the Cape and Cooktown in 2021 

 For more info go to and be sure to follow @cooktown2021 on Facebook for festival and event updates. 


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