THE incredible transformation of Ballarat during the summer months continued on the weekend – and there’s more good news to come.
The Ballarat Beat Rockabilly Festival had the city centre buzzing at the weekend, adding a spectacular new element to the city’s tourism landscape.
It follows another year of the National Road Cycling Championships, the growth of the Ballarat Beer Festival and the return of the Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Regatta.
Still to come next weekend is the Ballarat Swap Meet, with thousands expected to visit and the Head of the Lake rowing regatta – the heart and soul of our most precious gift, Lake Wendouree.
Amid the welcome warm weather, we can strongly argue that Ballarat is suddenly cool and hip again.
Most pleasing for city leaders is that the renewed verve in Ballarat during the past two months has been generated not wholly and solely from the usual channels. Private entrepreneurs are investing time, effort and money into events that are providing a point of difference for the city.
For so long, Ballarat has been considered quiet during summer as local residents migrate to the coast.
Clearly, many of the events now hosted by the city are being promoted to potential visitors from outside. Our reliance on history, while still incredibly important, is changing. Such a direction will, and has, created concern among locals, with teething or logistical problems being recognised and in some cases criticised.
Yet the greater good for Ballarat is being laid bare for all to see.
The reduction of nightclubs and increase in the cafe culture in the CBD is a sure sign that the clientele is changing.
On this point, it should be noted that Camp Street, host of much of the Rockabilly Festival has been maligned in recent years. It needs events such as that on the weekend to prove the value that so many saw when it was created in the early 2000s.
Credit where it is due – Ballarat’s reputation as an inland summer destination looks brighter now than in any other time in recent history.
Building on this positive direction in the short term must be encouraged.