Time for spectators to reward leaders' efforts

CROWDS of 26,000   attending Burnie's New Year's Day carnival are now but a memory, but new promoter John Craven has promised to reinvigorate the Tasmanian carnivals scene.

Speaking at yesterday's launch of the 2013-14 series, Craven said a committed effort had been made to attract mainland and overseas cyclists and runners.

``We've been able to achieve that, and now we're looking forward to getting spectators back to the carnivals,'' he said.

``We have introduced some  initiatives like the criterium racing series, the indoor mile challenge at the Silverdome and a cricket ball throwing competition where a world record is there for the taking.''

Craven said top-class cycling, running and woodchopping would be programmed at each of the carnivals, with the nightly action running from 6pm till 9pm.

The carnivals were officially opened by Deputy Premier  Bryan Green, who said the state government had again put its support behind the series.

``In my younger days I worked at the Burnie pulp and we all took our holidays over Christmas and we looked keenly forward to the carnivals,'' he said.

``I want to congratulate everyone for bringing the carnivals together again, and there will be so many visitors to Tasmania who will get a chance to enjoy our state.

``After this week's tragedy at Queenstown  we all need a lift, and the carnivals are one way of doing that.''

Carnivals ambassador Tim Lane made the trip from Melbourne to speak at yesterday's launch, and during the function he conducted a public interview of world junior bronze medallist Macey Stewart, Stawell Gift winner Andrew Robinson and Tasmanian underhand chopping champion Kody Steers.

``The Tasmanian carnivals have proved ageless, and I'm very proud to take on the title of ambassador,'' he said.

Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania president Mike Gunson praised Craven and his Caribou promotional team for the work they have done on the carnivals.

``It has been a huge task for John and his team, and his appointment to carnivals promoter came as a direct response to recommendations from the Culbert Report, which was undertaken after the 2011-12 carnivals,''  Gunson said.

``After some early hesitation, John has launched himself into how best to promote the carnivals.''

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