MYSTERY still surrounds the make up of Ballarat’s popular White Night celebration with the program set to be moved to spring, but as yet no dates have been confirmed.
Details still remain surprisingly scant for the future of the major festival, which last year attracted more than 60,000 patrons to Sturt, Lydiard and Armstrong streets in central Ballarat.
A spring White Night will add to an already packed calendar which begins with sporting finals in September.
Events then move to the Photo Biennale throughout September and October, followed by the Ballarat Show, Ballarat Cup and Spring Fest during November.
For the first two years of its existence, White Night Ballarat was run on the weekend after the long weekend in March and before the start of the football season. It proved to be one of the most popular major events in Ballarat throughout the year.
On both occasions, patrons were met with warm autumnal weather, despite strong winds at times hampering last year’s event.
Any move to spring could be tested by Ballarat’s fickle weather, with a preference for late November - possibly the week before Spring Fest and Ballarat Cup - looming as the most appropriate date where warm weather could be as close to guaranteed as possible.
City of Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said White Night Ballarat 2019 will move to a date in spring to align with the shift of the Melbourne event to August.
“City of Ballarat is in on-going discussions with the state government about the exact date for the Ballarat event,” she said.
“The shift away from autumn, which is a busy period for major events in Ballarat, is an exciting opportunity. We look forward to working with organisers to deliver another great White Night in Ballarat.”
In October last year, then Tourism Minister John Eren announced Ballarat would once again play host to the arts extravaganza, but was short on details as to when it would be held.
In 2018 alone, more than $5 million was generated for the Ballarat economy as a result of the seven-hour event.
“No one does big events like regional Victoria and White Night Ballarat has been a big hit – I can’t wait to see what next year’s event holds,” Mr Eren said at the time.
A government spokesperson said in a statement to The Courier on Monday “this year’s White Night Ballarat will be another opportunity to show that no one does big events like regional Victoria”.
It comes as Melbourne’s event has also been moved to a three-night festival which will be held in August. Similar White Night events in Geelong and Bendigo have yet to be confirmed.
Creative Agency Dig & Fish who has been charged with promoting the event said at this stage it was still locking in dates and would have further announcements soon.
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