WHITE Night is back, but there's a big clash coming with its timing falling on the same day as the Ballarat Football Netball League Grand Final day.
The popular central Ballarat festival, which last year attracted an estimated 60,000 crowd in March, has been moved to September 21 as part of the State Government's push to reinvigorate the festival around the state.
It will operate across regional centres for the next three years, Ballarat this year, followed by Bendigo and Geelong in the next two years. No guarantees have been given for the festival's future from 2022 and beyond.
The State Government has opted against running four events in the calendar year - which also included the yearly Melbourne event - rather it will fund Melbourne and one regional event for the next three years. The full funding to be allocated to the city has not been made public.
In Ballarat to announce the date, major events and tourism minister Martin Pakula said there had been a change of direction across the state for the festival.
"I'll make the point the Melbourne White Night has been moved to a different date (August 22) as part of a larger scale winter festival," he said. "We think that having the festival in September is a wonderful opportunity for Ballarat.
"It's now going to be part of that rotation. The fact is White Night is very sort after event and we need to share it around, I'm sure Ballarat would love to host it every year, but at the same token Bendigo very much wanted it as did Geelong.
"The government has made that decision for the next three years, we believe it is the fair and reasonable thing to do across the region and to ensure we can see it and enjoy it in different landscapes and streetscapes."
Mayor Samantha McIntosh said she held no concerns about the clash with the big sporting day.
"There's always an opportunity to fill a date in Ballarat, no matter what time of year we will host White Night, we will make sure the night fits the theme of that season," she said.
"Spring in Ballarat is gorgeous, it's crisp and fresh and that's what this is about."
"What an amazing weekend for Ballarat to have a grand final and to have art, and I'd love to see sport and art come together.
"This is our opportunity to show how this can happen, we want all of our community to be part of this opportunity and to have two great events hosted in Ballarat, says we can do it."
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