A HUGE crowd turnout for the first night of the General Machinery Sugar Festival on Saturday night had stall owners and ride operators confident of a good week of trading.
Fears of stall holders not being able to recover costs and expenses and turning over some profit were put to rest as thousands braved the cold and witnessed fire walking, cultural and contemporary dances and caught a first glimpse of the six young hopefuls vying for the Miss Sugar 2012 crown at Carnival Park.
Chief organiser Pusp Raj had earlier promised a festival of fun and festivity and if the first night was anything to go by, the Sugar City is in for a week of non-stop entertainment.
"We have designed a program that will build up the level of entertainment to the crowning on Saturday and the festival will draw to a close with Mix FM's Rock Night which will be something quite special," he said.
Due to financially challenging times caused by extensive flooding in the Western Division earlier this year, Mr Raj said the organising committee decided to shift the focus of the festival from raising funds for charity to bringing smiles and raising hope.
"That does not mean that we will not assist the needy as we've always done. The aid will be significantly less than previous years but we are urging people to come out in numbers and enjoy what we have put on," said Mr Raj.