WITH Australia Day now officially off the fireworks calendar, but $40,000 each year set aside for a cracking good time, when should Ballarat hold an annual fireworks display?
There are three options, New Year's Eve, Begonia Festival, or how about at SpringFest?
New Year's Eve seems the most logical, and we all know that there is nothing at all to do in this town on that night (save for the ringing of the bells over town hall...really?!?!)
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But there at least two drawbacks to New Year's Eve, the first is the fact the event needs to be run at midnight, sure it's fine to have a small, family event at 9.30pm so the kids can get to bed at a decent hour, but what about the rest of us?
A midnight fireworks display could attract more than 10,000 people to the lake, but can you imagine the anger of the local residents putting up with cars - and no doubt drunken revellers - leaving the scene at 12.30am-1am? New Year's Eve fireworks would also have to compete with the already massive events that take place around the country.
So what about SpringFest? Well the problem we have there is spring weather. There's been plenty of lovely days out at SpringFest, but unfortunately there's been plenty of cold, windy events too.
At least you've already got market stalls and plenty of people around the lake on the day, and of course, all of the money raised goes to charity too.
That leaves us with the Begonia Festival. Traditionally March is the most stable time of the year weather wise, so that's a tick. The lake is in full use, tick. Long weekend, so tourists are in town, tick.
If there's a downside, it's the fact that while the festival is Ballarat through-and-through, despite improvements and upgrades in recent years to make it more family friendly, is it a festival that attracts a 'fireworks' crowd?
Of course then there's the other option, just get rid of the fireworks entirely and change the 'activation' to a sound and light show. Certainly that's better for the wildlife in the area and we've seen with events such as White Night, Ballarat doesn't need fireworks to attract a crowd.
IN OTHER NEWS
Which brings us to New Year's Eve this year, we're less than a month from ending the wretched 2020, surely we could do with some sort of celebration to welcome in 2021, again, the bells on town do no cut it!
Here's an idea, why don't we close of Armstrong Street to traffic for the night, and have all the restaurants put seats outside in the middle of the road and encourage a crowd and their friends, heck, why don't we put up a couple of marquees, just in case the weather turns bad as well? We could even throw a few tables into the median strip on Sturt Street so restaurants all around the CBD get a slice of the action.
And then, you've got all the local pubs and clubs opening up for those that want to bring the new year with a bit of fun later in the night. Hoteliers around town suggest that the Christmas-New Year period is almost booked out, so we know people will be in town.
This will be good for businesses, good for bringing people to the CBD, and you know what, we might even end up with a few people around to watch the ringing of the bells at midnight as well.