THIS is an incredible time to be part of Ballarat. Visitors keep telling us so. Once again, this weekend we pulled off an impressive show of major events. Our sustained success is hardly a secret but definitely needs more highlighting: community spirit. This is the quality visitors tend to notice most, from AFL and the nation’s top rally drivers to those checking our smaller events, like Ballarat Community Garden’s Harvest Festival.
Community spirit is something we should be proud about because it is a strong, influential quality. It makes people want to come back, and bring their friends. It means we put on more than a good show. We have passion for promoting what we do best.
Working with the community has been top of Western Bulldogs’ agenda since they first claimed Ballarat as their territory. The club works alongside community bodies to introduce their programs in ways that helps our region and people best.
Bulldogs’ new chief executive officer Ameet Bains made sure to spend time immersed in the club’s Mair Street base last week. Bains was proudly born and raised in Bendigo. He knows exactly the impact a professional sporting club can have on a regional city. Such partnerships are important for the club to make its mark, but Bains said it was vital the community had a strong sense of pride and ownership in what the Bulldogs were trying to achieve. And he wanted to learn from Ballarat.
Results are showing in the way we have rallied behind the Bulldogs’ men and women’s teams in pre-season hit-outs.
Eureka Rally, the first leg in the Australian Rally Championships, also embraced Ballarat spirit. Officials worked hard to showcase the dedicated volunteers on course. They say this is largely what makes a return to the Eureka Rally so worthwhile.
Our rowing pride was back on show in state championships across the weekend, following on from Ballarat Associated Schools’ Head of the Lake regatta.
Community gardeners and budding enthusiasts were out in force for the annual harvest festival. It was a chance to swap tips and learn from each other. Enjoying the garden together will be at the fore for Ballarat Begonia Festival next weekend.
Then, the spotlight will be on arts and music in a fortnight for White Night.
Visitors are increasingly flocking to these events. We can host a good show but the key is in the way we really embrace our community. That passion entices people back.