Disappointing lack of interest in the council’s event awards

BALLARAT’S rich tapestry of culture, food, wine and sport are regularly celebrated each year with special events and festivals.

From the larger Begonia Festival and SpringFest, which attract thousands of people each year, to much smaller but no less important events like farmers’ markets and multicultural gatherings, the city has a great variety of festivals, activities and events on its annual calendar.

That’s why it was strange there was no Activity of the Year category in Friday night’s City of Ballarat Australia Day honours.

Ballarat had its Citizen of the Year in teacher Robert Gray and Young Citizen of the Year in Rebekah Vass ... but no Activity of the Year.

It seems no nominations were received for this category.

But how can that be?

Even the smaller neighbouring municipalities had nominations and winners for their respective events/activity category in the Australia Day honours.

In the Moorabool Shire, the Bacchus Marsh Strawberries and Cherries Weekend took out the honour and the Moonambel Taltarni Fireworks Party won the award in the Pyrenees Shire. 

Steiglitz Airing of the Quilts took out the Moorabool Shire award, and Hepburn Shire’s joint winners were the 175th Smeaton township anniversary and the 150th Wombat Botanical Gardens celebrations.

A City of Ballarat-sponsored website promoting upcoming festivals boasts about Ballarat’s leadership in organising events.

“Ballarat hosts a huge number of events and festivals throughout the year which celebrate the best of the region. Visitors from around the nation gather to enjoy Ballarat’s famous hospitality, arts and culture, beautiful gardens, historic buildings and fascinating heritage,” the Visit Ballarat website stated. 

Everything from  farmers’ markets and sporting events to the much larger Ballarat Begonia Festival Springfest and the International Foto Biennele – not to mention the annual Ballarat Show – attract many thousands of visitors to the city and would have all been worthy of a nomination.

Ballarat Mayor Josh Morris admitted he was disappointed to have not received any nominations for the events category.

He put the lack of interest in the Activity of the Year award down to an anomaly, not a lack of options. 

It may have been an anomaly and an oversight, but it is disappointing nonetheless.