UNDER WAY: Brett Jones Bunnings warehouse complex manager with surfer Joel Parkinson who officially opened the Bunnings warehouse in Ballina yesterday, and below left, Mathew Townsend of Ballina played a big part by collecting 5000 signatures to save the Big Prawn.
UNDER WAY: Brett Jones Bunnings warehouse complex manager with surfer Joel Parkinson who officially opened the Bunnings warehouse in Ballina yesterday, and below left, Mathew Townsend of Ballina played a big part by collecting 5000 signatures to save the Big Prawn. Doug Eaton

Big Prawn party starts tonight with fireworks and light show

SURFING legend Joel Parkinson officially opened the new Ballina Bunnings store yesterday, kicking off a weekend of celebrations for the new warehouse and the revamped Big Prawn.

At 6.30pm and 8pm tonight there will be fireworks over the giant crustacean and a lighting display.

Activities for the kids will include a jumping castle and face painting, with fairy floss and snow cones available.

TV sensation dirtgirl will meet her fans at 6pm and she will do a show at 7.30pm.

The fun continues over the weekend and next weekend, with a jumping castle, a clown and face painting each day between 10am and 4pm.

HOW THE PRAWN WAS SAVED: Only in today's Northern Star print edition

Big facts about the Big Prawn

Complex manager Brett Jones said it would be a great way to celebrate the opening of the new store and the new-look Big Prawn.

"Four weeks ago we walked in here to an empty shell," he said.

"It's been a huge effort and I think it looks fantastic."

At the official opening yesterday Bunnings' chief operating officer, PJ Davis, said he was also proud of the $32 million store.

He admitted the improvements to the Big Prawn had been a major challenge.

"It was a bigger project than we initially thought, considerably bigger," he said.

"It cost us $400,000. But we are extremely proud to have made that commitment to the Ballina community."

Staff members, suppliers and students from Southern Cross K-12 special unit attended the official opening yesterday, with current world surfing champion Joel Parkinson unveiling the plaque with Mr Jones.

Parkinson said his DIY projects were strictly limited to the outdoor area at his home.

"I am good in the gardens," he said.

"This new Ballina store has a great atmosphere - it's a great store and I want to offer my congratulations."

OUR BIG PRAWN

  • Weighs 35 tonne with its new tail
  • Its makeover cost $400,000
  • Painted to have a "cooked" look
  • It is nine metres tall
  • The Prawn is made of a reinforced steel frame and covered with sprayed concrete
  • Originally built as part of a tourist centre

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