Netball is set to provide a massive boost to the Gold Coast economy with close to three thousand competitors preparing to take part in NetFest, Netball Australia’s mass participation event for men and women aged 18 years and over.
The event, now in its fifth year, has attracted a record number of teams to compete in the traditional outdoor format or in the increasingly popular beach competition.
NetFest runs from 8-11 October and officially opens on the sands of Surfers Paradise on Thursday night with a celebrity match featuring Gold Coast Suns’ Mitch Hallahan along with netball royalty in the form of Australian greats Liz Ellis, Catherine Cox, Kimberlee Green and New Zealand’s Irene van Dyk.
Australian Diamonds captain Laura Geitz will umpire the match, teammates Kim Ravaillion and Gretel Tippett will be among the spectators and former Australian great Sharelle McMahon will provide the commentary.
Competition begins on Friday and runs through until Sunday’s finals. In 2014 just over 2000 competitors representing 252 teams participated in NetFest. In 2015, 278 teams have registered.
Ellis, who has been NetFest’s ambassador since the inaugural event in 2011, said the combination of playing netball while having fun with family or friends is what helps attract more and more people to NetFest every year.
“There’s a real sense of fun about the event. There’s some serious teams and people are there to play some good netball, but a lot are there to have fun with their teammates and everything in between,” Ellis said.
“I love meeting people who share my passion for netball either at the courts, on the beach or on the dance floor of the Saturday night party.”
The Hinterlands District Netball Association and the South Coast Netball Association will host the outdoor action with all the beach competition played on the iconic Surfers Paradise foreshore.
NetFest is presented by Netball Australia and proudly supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.
Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington welcomed the record number of athletes to Queensland for the 2015 tournament.
“It’s fantastic to see the event, now in its fifth year, continue to grow from strength to strength on the Famous for fun Gold Coast,” Ms Coddington said.
“Major participatory events such as Netfest play an important role in growing tourism, promoting the destination, driving visitation and fostering community pride.
“With netball also being a Commonwealth Games sport, Netfest continues to reinforce the Gold Coast’s reputation as a premier sporting destination in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.”