Rug Up Festival launched to shed wintery image

Paula Nicholson, Sarah Masters, Zoe Bradshaw, Sofia Fiusco and Alicia Mitchell. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Paula Nicholson, Sarah Masters, Zoe Bradshaw, Sofia Fiusco and Alicia Mitchell. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

“OLD, cold, gold.” Be sure Sofia Fiusco doesn’t hear you mutter those three little words in Ballarat this winter. 

The Leadership Ballarat and Western Region (LBWR) chief executive has launched the Rug Up Winter Festival in a bid to revamp Ballarat’s soggy seasonal image. 

“We may be talking about the old, cold and gold Ballarat, but we see a positiveness in it,” Ms Fiusco said. 

“There is a richness to it. We wanted to create a brand about getting people to rug up and step outside.” 

A winter market at the Ballarat Mining Exchange will be the festival’s largest drawcard and will include a community 3D quilt art installation. 

The six by 20 metre interactive quilt will encompass food stalls and entertainment. 

Ms Fiusco found Ballarat locals hibernated in the colder months. 

“We know people in Ballarat get a bit of cabin fever,” she said. 

“If you are a part of the community, it can have a positive effect around the way people are feeling.” 

A handful of Ballarat eateries have been approached to design special winter dishes as part of the festival. 

“We all love to cook a hearty meal in winter,” Ms Fiusco said.

LBWR will also support local charities Uniting Care, United Way and Soup Bus during the festival. 

“It is important to remember that many people struggle in winter with the cost of bills,” Ms Fiusco said. 

LBWR will also hold a coat drive during winter to collect coats for those in need. 

Coat collection points will be set up at the Winter Market, then distributed through Ballarat and western region. 

For more information, follow Rug Up Ballarat on Facebook.

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