MORE people than ever attended this year’s Ballarat Heritage Weekend, with visitors to the city spending more than $500,000 during their stay.
A report to be presented to council this week shows 15,125 people attended the event on Mother’s Day weekend in May – a significant increase from 10,375 last year.
Most of the attendees were from the Ballarat region, but about 3300 people travelled specifically for the festival and spent an estimated $514,164 in the city.
Councillor Samantha McIntosh said the festival was growing every year thanks to overwhelming support from the community.
“I think the people of Ballarat are proud of our heritage architecture and they love it when we open our buildings up and invite people inside,” she said.
Cr McIntosh said her favourite part of the festival was the Darnell Collection of vintage fashion.
“It was visually fabulous. It was an amazing collection with thousands of privately owned pieces that tracked back decades of fashion history,” she said.
“I think since the Darnell Collection was on stage at the Mining Exchange, there’s been lots of talk from all sorts of community groups about what they can do of a similar nature.”
The Heritage Weekend cost the City of Ballarat $200,000 to run, with $36,500 spent on marketing and the rest on operational costs.
People who attended the festival stayed for an average of four hours and tended to only go on one day instead of both.
Of those who travelled to Ballarat for the event, most made a day trip instead of staying overnight.
Cr McIntosh said that while Heritage Weekend was mainly a community event, there was potential to attract more interstate and intercity visitors in the future.
“Ultimately Heritage Weekend has been and is about our community and who we are as a city, but at the same time it’s important for us to be able to share that with others,” she said.
“I think that’s our potential, that’s our opportunity to be able to grow the event.”