FROM steam trains to giant marshmallows, from beards to artists, from bikes to fashionable aprons, Ballarat's Heritage Weekend has once again proved to be a smash hit for all tastes.
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Early on Saturday morning as the steam train whistled its way into Ballarat, the festival was up and running and even some pesky late May showers failed to dampen the enthusiasm of locals and tourists alike.
Some visitors had travelled from as far north as the Sunshine Coast to experience Ballarat's unique brand of hospitality.
One of the more popular haunts on Saturday proved to be Hop Temple for the annual 'Beard and 'Stache' competition.
And it was here the "beardophiles" were able to put their facial growth - some measured in at more than a metre - to the test.
With categories including the 'Full Beard Natural 20cm to infinity', 'The Partial' and 'The Freestyle', there was plenty for facial hair enthusiasts, both young and old.
Melton's Jeff Ostler who also donned the a wrestling suit for the occasion said it was an event he always looked forward to.
"If you can't have the best beard in the competition, you may as well stand out in the crowd," he said.
"I was a viking last year, I thought, why not go wrestler this time and stick all my hobbies in one.
"Look around the room, this is one of the best days of the year for beardophiles."
Co-organiser Jake Warren said there were 75 entrants from right across the country.
"The bearded men of the Sunshine Coast came down, we had the Brisbane bearded bandits, there was a guy from from Newscastle, people from everywhere, all around the country," he said.
"It's a staple now try, we try to get everyone involved, make it a great day for everyone."
The Moustache competition was won by Gary Moyle, Verdi by Kazi Atiquzzaman and The Full Beard 20cm to Infinity was won by Nigel Bullamore. Nathan Coles was named the Freestyle beard champion.
Out on the corner of Sturt Street and Lydiard Street, Frankston's 'Helmut Von Push' was creating his latest masterpiece reflecting the life and times of the a Chinese man on the goldfields.
"I was going to set up under that tree, but I like it by the fountain more," he said. "I'm not sure about this bit of rain, perhaps it will add a touch of authenticity to the finished piece."
For those who liked their heritage a little more sedate, the world's only Apron Festival was proving a hit.
While the dulcet tones of The Mary Gardens kept the entertainment flowing, among the highlights was a specially designed apron from Aunty Marlene Gilson, a Wathauraung elder and artist who's work references her indigenous and European ancestry by exploring stories of the goldfields.
Also proving popular, particularly with the kids, was the 'World's Biggest Marshmallow' which was on display at Housey Housey in Armstrong Street.
On Sunday, the Tweed Ride had a record 90 entrants take part. Organiser Liana Skewes said the previous record was 65 riders.
"We've got 90 registered and 100 is the limit we can go to, so we're absolutely delighted," she said.
"This year the lake is a feature, so we'll do a full lap of the lake because it's beautiful riding, it's great weather and it's a great showcase of autumn in the city.
"Then we'll head down Sturt Street and finish at one of the bandstands.
"The idea of the Tweed Ride is to wear clothes of a celebration of a bygone ear. It doesn't just have to be tweed, so it's wonderful seeing everyone celebrate something that's so special to them."
In Civic Hall, fashion anthropologist Charlotte Smith had pulled pieces from her collection of more than 10,000 garments for her annual (and beloved) fashion show.
After putting the spotlight on fashion from the 1920s and 1960s on Saturday, fashion fanatics were treated to a timeline of sartorial history on Sunday, from 1910 to glad rags from the modern era with Postcards presenter Brodie Harper.
Ms Smith said in trying to tell fashion's vast narrative, she had gone for the "iconic looks", but had to ensure the models would fit into the clothing, and pieces weren't too fragile to showcase.
"There's a real grandeur (to Civic Hall), and if you're telling the story of fashion history, you really need ambiance," she said. "What I love about the 1920s is that everyone has this idea it was absolutely perfectly matched, but it wasn't at all ... I don't like to be a slave to the decade, so I try to blend in people's assumptions with what it really might it been, weaved into my own story."
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