What’s not to love about autumn? The pops of colour in deciduous trees turn ordinary streetscapes into beautiful autumnal visions and the calendar fills with a kaleidoscope of enticing local events. This year there’s something for everyone, from history fans to gastronomes and everyone in between. Keep this edition of Out & About close by as a handy guide to what’s happening in the region, and for road trips to enjoy on a glorious autumn day. Click on the link to read Out & About magazine online.
In full bloom
Nothing says community more than the Ballarat Begonia Festival. Since the 1950s, the Ballarat community has celebrated the Festival which has evolved into the popular event it is today. The inaugural Ballarat Begonia Festival was opened by Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies and was an 11-day program of events that included archery demonstrations, square dancing and floral displays. A young Queen Elizabeth attended the festival in 1954 to admire the floral displays, and the Queen Mother visited a few years later. Throughout the decades the festival has included everything from car rallies, to sheep dog trials and talent quests. Run by the City of Ballarat, the Begonia Festival is now one of Australia’s oldest and most popular community events.
This year marks the 66th year of the Ballarat Begonia Festival which will be celebrated with a new program of events for the entire family to enjoy among the beautiful backdrop of the 160-year-old Botanical Gardens. This March thousands of visitors will have the opportunity to explore the beauty of the Gardens while enjoying the many activities, displays and performances during the Festival.
One of the festival highlights returning in 2018 is the iconic Begonia Parade. One of few community parades still running, the parade draws more than 10,000 people who come to watch local businesses, schools and community groups unit to celebrate Ballarat’s diversity and community spirit.
2018 also sees the return of gardening guru Costa Georgiadis, who will present a series of talks drawing on his passion for plants.Don’t forget to visit the Conservatory during the three-day festival – a team of dedicated gardeners have been busy growing 2500 tuberous begonias for this year’s Begonia Display.
The 2018 Ballarat Begonia Festival is on from 10-12 March. For more information, visit ballaratbegoniafestival.com
A taste of Ballarat's fine fare
TAKING place throughout the month of May, Plate Up Ballarat is a new and exciting event celebrating Ballarat’s wonderful food offerings, craft beers, boutique wines and a whole lot more. Made up of 35 events held across 26 days, Plate Up Ballarat showcases local producers while also promoting the successful and supportive connections between them and the city's eateries. These unique events have been created exclusively for the Plate Up Ballarat food festival and are offerings that you would not get to experience every day. Foodies from near and far will be enticed to taste and discover all that Ballarat and its bountiful region has to offer.
Eat the 'Rat. Sara Kittelty (Kittelty's at the Gallery) and Brigid Corcoran (Saltbush Kitchen) collaborate for Eat the 'Rat, dreaming up a menu of cocktails and dishes representing Ballarat, inspired by favourite photos of the city submitted by the public.
Vino Veloce! Mitchell Harris will host a brilliant showcase of the best of Western Victorian wines. Join the winemakers, together with 10 of their winemaking friends to sample the local talent on this night of “Speed Dating with Wine”.
Craig’s Royal Hotel and Gems and Jewels. Experience the extraordinary at Craig’s Royal Hotel's famous High Tea, which will be taken to the next level with this luxury collaboration with Gems and Jewels. A menu filled with delicious petit fours, with sparkle and glitz to match. Enjoy complimentary cleaning of your diamonds and jewellery while you enjoy this oh-so special High Tea.
“Ballarat boasts friendly, A+ service and incredibly talented chefs, serving up exceptional culinary experiences,” said event director, Kate Davis. “Our burgeoning food scene will put Plate Up Ballarat on the map, literally. There has never been a better time to promote the sophisticated regional dining alternatives on offer.”
For more information about these events and the rest of the program, visit plateupballarat.com.au.