Let the Games Begin!
More than 4000 participants formed a colourful parade of people in Alice Springs to launch the 30th Anniversary of the Alice Springs Masters Games last night.
Participants snaked their way through the Todd Mall, marching, skipping and shuffling towards Anzac Oval for the Opening Ceremony.
There were peels of laughter and smiles all round as old acquaintances from Games gone by lined up in their chosen sport for the event.
The biennial Alice Springs Masters Games parade is the biggest and most colourful in the town.
The tradition that was born at the first Games in 1986 saw teams and individuals resplendent in their outfits and team colours. It was such an explosion of colour that spectators on the side of Todd Street were forced to keep looking from left to right and back again to catch all the action.
A single cannon shot from Anzac Hill heralded the arrival of the participants at Anzac Oval.
The parade was led in by the competitors in the new sport of tug-o-war with the Sports Med team bringing up the rear.
The competitors were joined by thousands of well-wishers from Alice Springs and interstate for the NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s official opening speech.
With his words: I now declare the 2016 Alice Springs Masters Games officially open, the week-long party swung into action. A spectacular display of fireworks lit up the night sky before the entertainment got underway.
Ever-popular Adelaide-based cover band Clearway started the entertainment with some good old rocking tunes like April Sun in Cuba.
Then Wilbur Wilde and the Troublemakers featuring Wendy Stapleton took to the stage to get the crowd rocking before the Australian Blues Brothers Band finished off a quality night of entertainment.
Many of the Games participants left with a spring in their step and a smile on their faces.
After a sound night’s sleep it’s into serious sports action with 26 of the 33 sports taking to the field and courts today.
After a few days of friendly competition, the party will continue on Wednesday with the Games celebrating its 30th anniversary on the Alice Springs Town Council lawns from 6pm.
There will be food stalls, a bar, a reptile show and an open challenge tug-o-war plus Drum Atweme and Clearway playing live. Entry is free.