I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published February 26th 2016
Bags of Fun For Everyone
Another year, another set of awesome events to add to your calendar for 2016. The Gold Coast has a plethora of entertaining, fun and inclusive events from the top to the bottom of the coast, that cater for pretty much every like, passion, interest and audience.
So here are my top 14 events coming up in 2016 - There are loads more of course, but I wanted to keep to those events that I have actually attended a number of times to give an authentic review and some top tips.
This jam-packed festival celebrates a diverse mix of contemporary live music, pop up art installations and exhibitions, outdoor film programs, street parties, theatre, and much more all over three massive weekends. All the entertainment is free - over 50 events over 17 days. My tip would be to check the schedule for specific events rather than just turning up. The events are spread out and often in small venues, so at first it isn't obvious where the festival is. More Info
It all kicks off on Easter Sunday from 10-4 with loads of free eggcellent family fun including jumping castle, pony rides, animal farm, train rides, face painting, trampolines crafts and of course the Easter Bunny and an Easter Egg hunt. Then throughout the week till Friday 1 April there will be a smaller amount of activities from 11-2. My tip would be to prepare for crowds, it gets very busy and there are some wait times for the rides - get there early or slightly later for a quieter visit although make sure to check times for particular events. More Info
Gold Coast Film Festival Thursday 31 March - Sunday 10 April
This is an annual 10 day festival celebrating and promoting all aspects of film and filmmaking on the Gold Coast.
Expect internationally acclaimed dramas, comedies and genre films, incredible Japanese anime, locally made indie gems and family features. You can attend screenings, workshops and seminars aimed to inspire, educate and entertain.
The GCFF offers a culturally diverse, interactive and engaging program of film, events and special guests. More Info
Supanova Pop Culture Expo
Me and Xena
Friday 4 April - Sunday 6 April
Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach
If Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, X Men, Gotham and Comics and Gaming is your bag then this is the perfect event for you. You can meet some of your favorite characters and see talks, demos and more at this visually intense event. My tip would be to watch the parade go through Broadbeach to open the expo - the costumes are incredible and it is quite the sight. When I went I got to meet one of my heroes Xena. It is a fun and surprising event. More Info
Blues on Broadbeach Festival
Thursday 19 May - Sunday 22 May
In my opinion, this is the best free festival on the Gold Coast and it just gets bigger and better each year, bringing together music fans of all generations and tastes to dance and sing the blues.
There are loads of stages set up throughout Broadbeach and also at all the different bars - they all offer different styles of Blues from day to night. There really is something for everyone to enjoy and best of all it's free. Great event with an infectious friendly atmosphere. More Info
If you love nostalgia and favour the good ole days of rock 'n' roll, pin up girls and hot rods you must head down to Coolangatta for this vibrant event. There are over 50 artists lined up together with loads of retro markets, free entertainment, workshops and parades. Check out the cool cars and the poodle parade. More Info
Friday 17 June - Sunday 19 June
This is on a smaller scale than the Blues Festival, but no less fun and entertaining. It has only been going for a few years but it is drawing bigger crowds each year.
Featuring local, Australian and International artists this is a free event has loads of live music to suit all tastes. I love seeing everyone dancing in the streets and bars with their stetson hats on. If you love country music, or even if not it is worth a visit just for the atmosphere. More Info
Broadbeach Jazz Festival
Saturday 20 August - Sunday 21 August
This is the last of the year of the Broadbeach festivals - again a free festival for jazz lovers who flock to Broadbeach from all over Australia. A fabulous vibe and variety of music, which caters for the serious jazz fans together with more pop jazz and swing for those new to the scene. It is a fun, friendly and funky atmosphere - there is nothing like enjoying jazz with a drink and some great food by the beach. This year there will be the usual music stages but markets and other family entertainment too. More Info
Gold Coast Show
Friday 26 August - Sunday 28 August
GC Turf Club, Racecourse Drive, Bundall
A family fun carnival jam-packed with rides, attractions, entertainment, dancing, singing, competitions and much more. Everything kids could want and fun for the adults too such as fireworks displays, Australiana displays, show bags, wood chops, side show alley, an enchanted forest, visual arts, home crafts displays, stage shows, roving entertainment and a family circus. More Info
Swell Sculptures Festival
Friday 9 September - Sunday 18 September
Experience an excellent and eclectic display of 55 sculptures built by artists from Australia and overseas in the 14th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach. It is a free event with the majority of the sculptures along the Currumbin beach which is just beautiful. It is open all hours with a selection of sculptures revealing a new verve as they are lit up under the sky. There are workshops, masterclasses, kids activities, talks and smaller art displays too. My tip would be to just head down there and walk and soak up the art, beach and rays. More Info
Surfers Paradise Kids Week
Monday 19 September - Sunday 25 September
This is a total kids take over with loads of games, activities and fun for all the family. With rides, petting zoo, crafts, climbing walls and jumping castles, balloon twisting, cupcake decorating, character appearances and loads more! Usually they have a lead character for the show such as Peppa Pig or Minions but that hasn't been announced yet. It is perfect for parents throughout the school holidays with endless free kids entertainment all week. My tip would be for the live show to get there 20 mins or more early as it gets very busy and all the seats go. More Info
Date TBC - Last year was end of September.
Central Park Oval, Varsity Lakes
Another free event and perfect for the family and for kids and parents who love animals from the scaly to the fluffy. There are loads of cute animals to pet, learn about and see - mostly dogs but others too. Loads of stuff to do including jumping castles, pony rides, dog shows, talks and live entertainment. There is a section indoors too so you can take a break from the sun. Every year we have been it has been really hot so take lots of sun cream and own shade. Also get there just as it kicks off so you are not waiting in queues for activities. More Info
There are loads of Christmas Carol concerts and events throughout December at all the main Suburbs the biggest being Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. They have free entertainment, activities for the kids, Santa visit, songs and more ending usually in a firework display. They are all free to attend and perfect to get all the family in the Christmas spirit. We went to the Yacht Club last year which was brilliant, food and atmosphere was great and the kids loved the live music and Santa arriving on a water sleigh with acrobatic elves was magical.
Wednesday 31 December
There are loads of firework displays and new year family events up and down the coast for free, which seem to get more exciting and extravagant each year. Expect rides, attractions, markets, live music, roving entertainment and of course fireworks. The firework displays are on twice in the night - an early show for the family and the usual midnight show. My tip would be if you have young kids to stay a bit further back from the crowd - the people and noise can be a bit overwhelming and they may get upset. Loads of free fun to see in the New Year. I always write an article early December with all the times and places of the displays.