Ballarat is set to become a hive of activity and festivities this summer, thanks to the fabulous line-up of events planned for the season. Whether you're a culture vulture, a sporting nut, an active kid or a Christmas fanatic, here are 10 ideas to get you started.
Activities for kids
There's no better way for kids to spend the summer holidays than in Ballarat. There are school holiday programs at Sovereign Hill and Kryal Castle, and if the kids are feeling adventurous, just outside Ballarat is Cave Hill Creek, where kids can paddle in a canoe, abseil down a cliff, and shoot some archery at the summer camps. They can also explore the great outdoors at the Lake Wendouree Adventure Playground, a haven of slides, swings, monkey bars, forts and tunnels.
There's plenty of ways to get into the Christmas spirit this December. Carols by Candlelight will be hosted by Daryl Somers at Ballarat at City Oval on December 22, while local choirs will pop up on city streets in the weeks leading up to Christmas. There's plenty of engaging ways to entertain the kids in the lead up to December 25; they can call Santa from the Red Telephone Box outside Myer, check out the spectacular gingerbread house at Parents Place on Sturt Street, and follow the trail of 12 Christmas windows, starting with the Partridge in a Pear Tree at Central Square and continue down through the streets to 12 Drummers Drumming in the Bridge Mall.
An impressive line-up of musicians will take to the stage in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens for the return of the free Summer Sundays series on January 5, 12 and 19. And whatever sport you're into is be covered on February 16, with the A-League's Western United taking on Brisbane Roar at Mars Stadium, and Cricket for Causes Super 7s.
Making its highly anticipated debut in Ballarat this summer, Nitro Circus' February 29 show is stop number one of the 2020, 57-city You Got This world tour. Check out this explosive, high adrenaline, action sports spectacular, starring the best athletes in FMX, BMX, skate and scooter launching themselves more than 18 metres into the air.
Ballarat Beer Festival
A celebration of great craft beer and passionate brewers in Australia's original beer capital, 2020 is touted as the Gardens Edition of the Ballarat Beer Festival, with the move to a new location at the North Gardens. Sample some of the 150-plus Australian brews, or one of the many award-winning regional wines, while enjoying the entertainment, trivia, competitions and education sessions happening throughout the day on February 15.
Step back in time at a tribute to everything rock 'n' roll and rockabilly at Rock Ballarat. The February 7-9 spectacular will include music from this iconic era played by live bands, fashion parades, burlesque dance demonstrations, a display of vintage cars, and much more.
Buninyong Botanic Gardens
Theatre group The Bard in Buninyong has staged an annual production in Buninyong Botanic Gardens each summer since 2017, with audiences continuing to grow each year. From February 7-16 they will stage a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Each season they showcase local musicians who provide pre-show entertainment and the picnic performances are family and dog friendly and incorporate song, dance and circus.
Road National Championships
The Cycling Australia Federation University Road National Championships will return to Ballarat and Buninyong this summer, and on top of the exceptional racing that will be on display, the whole family is invited to take part in the festivities that run from January 6-12. From community rides to everyone's favourites, the Buninyong Community Festival and Gran Fondo ride, you don't have to be a die-hard cycling fan to have a great time.
Geoff Bonney: Pangrams
Artist Geoff Bonney will inject the Art Gallery of Ballarat with a sea of colour and a touch of whimsy throughout the summer. The Learmonth painter and sculptor his exhibiting his series of Pangrams artworks (an exploration of colour using every letter of the alphabet), and a giant Pearl Dog, part of the gallery's summer exhibition Dark horse: Wild beasts and curious creatures.
Ballarat Swap Meet
Been looking for that elusive spare part for your car or motorbike, or just love rummaging through practical bric-a-brac for handy additions to your workshop? Organised by the combined Rotary Clubs of Ballarat, Ballarat Swap Meet is the largest swap meet in the southern hemisphere and this year will be held at Ballarat Airport on February 28 and 29.
Further information about these events can be found in the summer edition of The Courier's Out and About magazine, which is out now. Click on the link to read all the stories online.