Should the Chamber run Carnivale?

Carnivale Reviews – Direction for 2016 Carnivale

Every year the Chamber in collaboration with TPDD reviews surveys and feedbacks from Carnivale.

Each year the Chamber also reviews whether event managing Carnivale is consistent with the Chambers required function to act in the best interests of its members.

Carnivale – the Operational History

Members will be aware that:

  • The Chamber became involved in Carnivale almost 10 years ago as an intended supervisory role under a 3 year contract arrangement only to facilitate funding streams for the event being provided by the Queensland government via Tourism Events Queensland and Council and interaction with a private company which event managed the various Carnivale Events.


  • The Event Management Company discontinued that role at the end of the Contract.   Then the subsequent Event Management Company went into liquidation.  Very fortuitously for Carnivale, rather than let the then Carnivale fail, both Ken Dobbs and Paula Johnson of the Chamber volunteered significant time and resources and the Chamber stepped up to effectively perform the function of Event Manager albeit on a shoe string budget.   Ken and Paula’s and their volunteers commitment was extraordinary and they willingly received a pittance for such labour compared to that which would be required to pay an Event Manager.  They continued to do so until 2013.


  • Funding for Carnivale is derived primarily from three (3) sources:

(i)              Council which provides approx.                        $50,000.00

(ii)            Council (in kind funding)                                  $15,000.00

(ii)            Events Queensland which provides approx.        $35,000.00

(iv)           Marketing / Advertising via TPDD                      $20,000.00


While it may seem from the above  that there are significant funds for such event, operationally Carnivale normally operates at a break even point.  Each year the Chamber has to report all expenditure to the funding parties. The Street Parade, Beach Day and marketing and staffing are the most expensive costs incurred by Carnival.


  • Recent Carnivales have stretched over a 2 weekend or 10 day period.   The 10 day timing was not due to the need to continually add more and more events, but rather to satisfy funding requirements from Tourism Events Queensland which require there to be an economic boost to the Douglas region as a result of such event.  


  • The Chamber’s strategy with Carnivale was to try to make independent event management companies responsible for the various Carnivale events run by them.  For example – flagship events such as The Longest Lunch and Food and Wine were owned by and conducted by Events NQ Pty Ltd.    The Reef Marina Pty Ltd generously operates the Seafood Extravanaganza. That event normally runs at a loss for the Reef Marina.  Palates was run in the past by Port Douglas Catering .  DTAG ran events at the Clink etc.  All of the Events are packaged under the Carnivale umbrella.  In exchange, the Chamber required the various events to provide data to demonstrate to TEQ growth of the event.


  • In 2014 Ken and Paula were no longer able to perform the role and the Chamber engaged Roy Weavers as the Event Co-Ordinator / general manager.  

The 2015 Carnivale was particularly challenging due to Events NQ entering into liquidation in February 2015 which in turn jeopardised flagship events such as Food and Wine and Longest Lunch.    Those events are normally 6 – 8 months in planning.   Last minute event management proposals from Roux Blonde were agreed to by the Chamber and TPDD in order to salvage those events for 2015.

Overall the majority of the 2015 Carnivale events were successful.  The street parade and beach days were particularly well subscribed to and feedback was positive.  It is acknowledged that  some events were not as successful due to a range of reasons.

The Chamber does continue to receive feedback from members and from the business community questioning how Carnivale needs to evolve.  To continue to attract participation in the event (other than locals from the Douglas Shire), the Chamber believes the Carnivale concept needs to be reinvigorated.

The Chamber has submitted funding applications to TEQ for the 2016 Carnivale  (funding from Council is in place).

Roy Weavers has indicated he is not available to manage Carnivale next year and the Chamber is again at a cross roads as to whether it should manage Carnivale.

The Chamber Committee lists the positives and negatives of continuing Carnivale management as follows:





Somebody has to do it.

The Chamber exists to act as a lobby group and to help Douglas region businesses by provision of information and networking.  The Chamber does not exist to be an event manager.


Carnivale dominate Chamber activities to the detriment of the Chamber’s core function


Carnivale show cases the Douglas region and has done so for 21 years.


The Chamber does not have the resources or the volunteers to manage Carnivale effectively.


Carnivale is a Community celebration.


If Carnivale is a community celebration rather than a business promotion – should the event by the Community rather than business. Specifically should Council run the community events such as the Street Parade and Beach Days?


Some businesses have indicated a benefit from the Carnivale weekends.


Many businesses consistently advise that they receive no direct benefit.


Those businesses perceived as receiving a benefit such as restaurants and pubs in fact advise that the logistics of extra staffing and entertainment for Carnivale rarely sees them derive a benefit – which reflects in decrease in sponsorship.



The Chamber committee considers that for Carnivale is to continue either:

  • The Chamber needs to return management of Carnivale to the Douglas Shire Council; or


  • The Chamber needs to tender the Event Management of Carnivale to professional to professional event management.

The Chamber Committee consists of volunteers who are already dominated by their existing businesses rather than trying to run the Chamber as a business (if indeed it should even be so).

As limited funding exists for Event Management and as Carnivale needs to be organized at least 8 months in advance, the Chamber need to make a decision on the above as quickly as possible.  In both of the above scenarios, members should reasonably expect that the Carnivale format will significantly alter.

We request your feedback as to whether members are in favour of returning the Carnivale to Council or seeking to continue Carnivale as a supervisory role with an Event Manager.  Please provided that feedback by 30 July 2015 by either:

  • logging on the Chamber’s facebook page,
  • emailing the chamber at email/secretary)(

If you or your business wish to be involved in the Event Management to perform a role with Carnivale the Chamber would love to hear from you.