The opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy, is gearing up to celebrate 100 years of history and heritage.

Celebrations to mark the centenary kicked off this month, with a line-up of special events running until May 2015.

South Australian Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, said visitors will be treated to genuine outback hospitality when they make the trek to the South Australian outback.

“This event is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore a unique destination where half the population lives in underground dugouts and the 4000 residents come from more than 40 countries.

“This is a huge year for the historic town, visiting it should be on everyone’s bucket list… From the stunning Breakaways and the Painted Desert, to noodling (fossicking) for opals and experiencing the underground way of life,” Mr Bignell said.

Annual events including the Coober Pedy Opal Festival (April 4), Gem Trade Show, The GREAT Breakaways Marathon and the Coober Pedy Races & Gymkhana will all be included in the Centenary events calendar.

Special events and projects currently include the Centenary Street Party & Multicultural Festival (April 2), 100 Year Ball (April 3), Welcome Back to Coober Pedy (April 5) reunion lunch for past residents, and the launch of the Mosaic Centennial Garden.

Centenary year events are aimed at attracting visitors and past residents back to the opal-mining town and The South Australian Tourism Commission expects the event to provide a significant economic boost to the region.

For more information about the Centenary of Coober Pedy celebrations and the full list of events, visit www.cooberpedy.sa.gov.au

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