Winter bowls carnival's 55th edition gets under way
A SUNSHINE Coast Winter Bowls Carnival official says interest in this year's edition has been "overwhelming".
Now it's 55th year, the two-week festival got under way on Monday and it has attracted droves of competitors, primarily from overseas.
"Every rink is full. In fact, we've had to make a couple of extensions just because of the numbers, particularly from New Zealand," Sunshine Coast Lawn Bowls office bearer George Lock said.
"We've had a real influx of extra people coming from across the ditch and the whole carnival is full, right up until the 14th of July."
There has already been a host of prelude competitions around the region but now the action has ramped up with the carnival proper.
The opening two events were held at Mooloolaba on Monday, with pairs contested.
Competitors head to Caloundra on Tuesday for mixed pairs before further events during the next fortnight at Tewantin, Club Maroochy, Coolum, Pacific Paradise, Buderim, Pelican Waters and Nambour.
About 60% of participants hail from New Zealand.
"They come here because of the weather, we pay very good prize-money and we have a lot of fun but it's also very competitive," Lock said of the carnival's appeal.
He said some interstate and international visitors stay for three months to holiday and compete in events in and surrounding the carnival.
"It's the nature of the tournament itself (which lures participants)," Lock said.
"Everyone knows it's very well organised."
He said the clubs "do very well out of it".