Begonia Festival to bloom with new ideas

AN exotic tea house and a wine garden will be two appealing new features of this year’s Ballarat Begonia Festival.

Ballarat Mayor Joshua Morris launched the 2014 event last Friday and said it was aimed at appealing to residents and visitors of all ages, not just those who love gardening.

New features include free entry to the begonia display and a gardening panel of experts, including Carolyn Blackburn of 774 ABC, Chelsea Best in Show 2013 winner Wes Fleming and TV personality Melissa King.

The festival will once again be held over the Labour Day long weekend between Saturday, March 8 and Monday, March 10 from 10am until 5pm.

Returning to the event program will be the popular super sandpit, trout hatchery tours, the Floral Art Group of Ballarat outdoor display, twilight cinema and The Courier Begonia Parade.

The gardener’s market will also be expanded, Ballarat City Council’s garden apprentices will lead a floral display and more services will be available, including an ATM and pop-up parent place, with feeding and change facilities for children.

Cr Morris said an extensive range of children’s activities would be a major feature.

For more information, go to and like the Ballarat Begonia Festival Facebook page to keep up to date.