EDITORIAL: Proof Ballarat is the regional cultural capital

Ballarat is set to shine again next year, with the state government announcing today White Night will be held in our fair city for a second time.

Next year’s event will be a double celebration in the city, with St Patrick’s Day – Saturday, March 17 – falling on the same day as White Night.

This year’s event was an unprecedented success, with more than 40,000 people converging on the Ballarat CBD to take in the sights and sounds that is unmistakably White Night.

Of the tens of thousands of people in Ballarat that night, around 8500 travelled from outside of our city, boosting business for local pubs, hotels, restaurants and bars. The huge influx generated more than $3 million for Ballarat’s economy.

That success meant Ballarat was the obvious choice by the state government as the regional host for the popular event in 2018.

It also meant Ballarat knocked out several other Victorian regional centres which also put their hands up to host White Night. At least five or six other regional councils had vied to host the second regional White Night, but Ballarat’s bid won out

And White Night Ballarat is expected to be bigger and better in 2018.

In announcing White Night 2018, Tourism and Major Events Minister John Eren said: “The first ever regional White Night was a big success. It had Ballarat buzzing like never before, with hotels booked out and restaurants full. We plan to take things up another level next year.”

White Night 2018 will also be an opportunity for Ballarat artists, performers and organisations to get involved, with organisers asking for expressions of interest to participate.

Giving us White Night again for 2018 only proves the confidence shown in Ballarat as a bustling, vibrant city, a place where culture is not only popular, but flourishing.

In fact, Ballarat can proudly wear the badge of the cultural capital of regional Victoria.

As Wendouree MP Sharon Knight says, it also proves Ballarat can put on a show.​ In proves we are a centre for others to aspire to be like, to look up to and only hope to emulate.

Ballarat is the regional cultural capital of Victoria and everyone involved in the event – from those putting in our bidding, to the organisers, participants and the 40,000-strong crowd, should be proud.