IT'S a bird, it's a plane ... it's the Melbourne Cup.
If you're sunning yourself at Noosa Main Beach next month, you might be in for a big surprise.
As part of the three- month 2012 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour (EMCT), the 18-carat gold cup, valued at $175,000, will make a spectacular entry at Main Beach.
On August 10, the symbol that stops a nation will be winched out of a sky-high helicopter and delivered to waiting Noosa Heads Surf Club members.
The club has organised the event to give the public a chance for photos with the cup.
"This is the one and only time this piece of global sporting memorabilia will be in Noosa," a spokesperson said.
"It will be a chance in a lifetime to have a photo taken with it."
At the same time in true competitive spirit, 24 surf skis (the same number of horses in the land race) will gain equine identities and compete on the Laguna Bay water course.
Rob Neely, who runs Noosa-based Equine Nutrition Australia and is a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, organised the Noosa stopover as part of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) 10th anniversary tour.
The tour highlights the contribution of the 152-year-old race to social, sporting and racing culture.
Since its inception, the tour has travelled more than 270,000km, visited more than 210 towns and engaged tens of thousands of people.
The tour includes ambassadors Sheila Laxon and Wendy Green. Sheila made history when she trained Ethereal to win the coveted Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double in 2001, a feat achieved only 11 times in history. She is also the first female to train a Melbourne Cup winner.
AUGUST 10 Cup events
6.30-7.55am: Noosa Surf Lifesaving Club sponsors' breakfast
8.10-9.10am: St Theresa's Catholic Secondary School Noosaville
9.25-10.25am: St Thomas More Catholic Primary School Sunshine Beach
11.35-11.45am: Sunshine Beach State School
11.55-12pm: Board the Noosa Ferry at the Sheraton Jetty travels to Ricky's Jetty
2-2.45pm: Official Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour Angel Flight Charity Lunch at Ricky's Restaurant
3-3.30pm: Carramar Senior Citizens Home
3.45-5pm: Noosa Main Beach and 24-Head Handicapped Surf Ski Race
5.05-5.15pm: Board the Noosa Ferry and travel to Yacht Club jetty, down the river on front deck of ferry
5.15-6.30pm: Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club Supporters Bar. There will be a junior flotilla from the club to welcome in the cup.