Heritage Weekend crowds up on last year

VISITORS from around Victoria joined Ballarat this weekend as it stepped back in time for Heritage Weekend.Vintage cars lined city streets, people queued for horse and carriage rides, buses from yesteryear took visitors on town tours and the whistle of a steam engine hung in the air.The event, now in its fourth year, had a travel and tourism theme and included more than 100 activities and exhibitions.High teas were held at Craig's Royal Hotel, Portico Wine Bar and Restaurant and the Lydiard Wine Bar.Many grand buildings were open to visitors such as Hymettus Cottage, the Old Colonists' Club and Loreto chapel and gardens.Outside the CBD, Ercildoune Homestead and Lal Lal Estate, opened their doors and their gardens to the public.Ballarat Heritage Weekend portfolio Councillor Samantha McIntosh said the weekend had created a brilliant, positive vibe around the city and encapsulated what Ballarat is all about."The activity about the city was the real stand-out with people learning, creating and participating in our heritage and history and bringing it to life,'' Cr McIntosh said."It illustrates again how important our history is in Ballarat and how important it is for people all over the state.''Many locals were involved with Heritage Weekend as volunteers with some working as tour guides."It was great to see the involvement of the community who really embraced Heritage Weekend and enjoyed being part of it, many even dressing up in costume.''Many of the memorabilia and collections were popular such as vintage fashion exhibitions including Louis Vuitton luggage, swimsuits and accessories attracting big crowds.Transport was a huge drawcard. There were constant queues at the horse drawn carriage rides, both trips on the steam train to Lal Lal were booked out as were rides on the vintage bus.Cr McIntosh said the first indications are this year's Heritage Weekend has been bigger than last year with numbers up all over town."So far I have had great feedback from everybody involved."It has been a great weekend for Ballarat," she said.

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