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WINTER SEASON 2004 (article first published : 2004-05-30)

With a bumper lineup of nine mega crowd pullers on the cards this winter season, Durban is holding its proud branding emblem as ‘South Africa’s Playground’ well and truly aloft.

Topping the power-packed list of major draw-cards on offer in and around the city this season is the Vodacom Beach Africa festival, one of the world’s greatest beach festivals which this year promises an even bigger and better events line-up than ever before.

Also in the arts line-up is Durban International Film Festival.

Other events include the 79th Comrades Marathon; the Spar Mercury Women’s 10km Challenge; the East Coast Radio House & Garden Show, gearing up for its biggest attendance ever; the Vodacom Durban July, Africa’s greatest horseracing event; the 2004 Classic Wheels Expo; the Wesbank Virginia Airshow and the Mr Price Pro, the year’s biggest red letter day for surfers.

Working hand-in-hand with Durban’s positioning as South Africa’s playground, are developments set for the preparation of the 2010 Soccer World Cup (including the new international airport to the north of Durban, several new hotels as well as a 90 000 seater football stadium). Durban is strongly tipped to also assume the mantle of South Africa’s Sporting Capital, says the City’s Mayor, Cllr Obed Mlaba. “We will host at least one semi-final, and we are confident we stand a powerful chance of hosting the final too.”

Meanwhile Durban’s forthcoming Winter 2004 programme guarantees to keep pulses racing among the thousands of visitors the coastal metropolis is expected to host over the coming months. “We have a uniquely attractive holiday package on offer, with something really special for everyone,” says Paulos Ngcobo, Chairman of Durban Africa, the city’s marketing arm.

Holding centre-stage in Ethekwini’s mid-year line-up of festivities, the Vodacom Beach Africa festival of fun takes place on the city’s Golden Mile from July 2 to 11. The festival has grown this year to encompass beaches stretching from New Pier right up to Snake Park Beach. It will offer a totally different experience, with live entertainment, unusual action-filled extreme sports, a high quality retail element, innovative food courts and casual beach bars offering food from around the globe to local and international visitors. Retail cabins will reflect the beach culture of event while the Food Court will cater for tastes ranging from exotic African and Eastern cuisine to seafood and sushi. More information available on www.beachafrica.co.za

Celebrating the double landmark of its 25th Anniversary and 10 years of Democracy in South Africa, the Durban International Film Festival runs from June14 to 27. Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts, it is the largest festival of its kind in South Africa. It incorporates around 300 screenings, most of them premieres in this country, as well offering a dynamic selection of workshops and seminars. Principal festival venues this year include among others, the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, CSE at The Workshop, Nu Metro CineCentre at SunCoast, Cinema Nouveau at Gateway, Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu and the Stable Theatre in Alice Street. For full details of screenings and other events log onto www.cca.ukzn.ac.za

Thousands of seasonal visitors and residents can look forward to the new East Coast Radio House & Garden Show. This takes place from July 2 to 11 at the Durban Exhibition Centre and will be the biggest ever this year as the popular and familiar House & Garden Show has an exciting new sponsor that will take the show into the realm of a fun, interactive experience for show-goers, out shopping for their home and lifestyles. Additional Visitor Entrances and Parking will also be available in Walnut Road for convenient visitor access, with attendance expected to top 90 000 plus. Details of the event can be found at www.housegardenshow.co.za

More information on Durban’s Winter Season 2004 from call Durban Africa on 031 304 4934 or visit www.durbanexperience.co.za




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