Big footy plans for steel city

LEADING THE WAY: Council CEO Justin Commons presenting to the businesses at the Westland Hotel forum on Tuesday.

LEADING THE WAY: Council CEO Justin Commons presenting to the businesses at the Westland Hotel forum on Tuesday.

The Whyalla City Council is hoping to turn the town teal, black and blue in the leadup to the AFL preseason game between Port Adelaide and Carlton on Sunday, February 21.

Local businesses were invited to a council-run forum on Tuesday aimed at maximising the opportunities involved with the Marsh Community Series match.

Council CEO Justin Commons said he wanted to 'package up' experiences which showcased Whyalla to visitors while also getting residents out and about in the steel city.

"We want visitors to come to the city for the whole of the weekend, or at least a couple of days, as opposed to driving in and driving out for the football match," she said.

"Last year was a great success, the economic data we've got showed a significant increase in local spend leading up to the game last year.

"We want to now build on that and set ourselves up for a more successful event this year."

One of the events already locked in for the weekend is a twilight market at the Ada Ryan Gardens by the Peppercorn Market Team on the Saturday (February 20) before the game.

The 'pop-up' market will feature food vans, festoon lighting, live music and stalls, with the team currently looking for additional stallholders to get involved.

Team member Caroline Rigg said the event would be family-friendly and hopefully attract people from outside of Whyalla to attend.

"This is a great way to showcase what Whyalla and the regions around Whyalla have to offer...we're hoping there will be a big crowd attending," she said.

"There's plenty of people booking out accommodation so we hope those people will be able to see more of Whyalla from attending the market to kayaking with dolphins."

Applications are open for those looking to hold a stall at the market until January 29. To apply, head to the Peppercorn Market Facebook page.

Whyalla Tourism Focus Group Chairperson Barbara Derham said another idea which was floated at the meeting were businesses opening on the Sunday of the game.

"I know how expensive it is to open a business on a Sunday, however these is a special event and this is something where we want to welcome people to our city," she said.

"I think the businesses should get behind the city council."