After a year off, Sovereign Hill's popular Winter Wonderlights festival will make a triumphant return next month.
The event will run every day from the evening of Friday, June 25 through to Sunday, July 18 and feature a Christmas in July theme throughout the day with snowfall, theatre shows and winter treats like mulled wine and gingerbread.
From 5pm each night when the sun goes down, Sovereign Hill will be lit up with a series of projections and lighting displays, bringing the entire site to life.
Sovereign Hill chief executive Sara Quon said while the event would normally draw up to 100,000 people, visitation was still expected to be around 75 per cent of a regular year.
"For what was our quietest time of year, it's really turned it on its head and it's one of our most popular times of the year," she said.
"It's important for not just ourselves, but Ballarat. It really encourages people to stay overnight given it's in the evening and we have really positive feedback from hospitality and accommodation operators across Ballarat.
"Although interstate borders are open, we're seeing interstate visitors return but not yet confident in the numbers that they were historically. We'd hope to see that grow over the next few months, but we're not predicting as high an interstate visitation as we have had in previous years.
"We're making sure that we've got a really strong marketing and partnership marketing effort to attract people from across regional Victoria and Melbourne to come to Ballarat through that time as well."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Ms Quon said while Winter Wonderlights will feel like a return to normality for patrons, it also important in Ballarat's economic recovery.
"I think that's an important part of what we do in terms of packaging and partnering with hospitality and tourism providers to make sure that they're able to make the most of visitors through that time," she said.
"From our point of view, we thought it was critical to have the event returned to be a pillar in the visitor economy's economic recovery through this time."
Ms Quon said discounted tickets and the annual pass draw were to thank the Ballarat community for its support.
"Locals were incredibly supportive of us during COVID and it was important to re-open Winter Wonderlights and really acknowledge and celebrate the atmosphere of Winter Wonderlights as one of bringing people together and that social side to it and the idea of celebrating that with as many locals as possible," she said.
"I think what Winter Wonderlights does is give us a really optimistic celebration after a pretty challenging 18-month period.
"It's a lovely time to celebrate the cold reputation of Ballarat and turn it on its head and really enjoy it."
Ballarat residents are invited to the event's opening night on Friday, June 25 with special ticket prices available for locals.
Tickets went on sale this morning and are available at winterwonderlights.com.au
Our team of local journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the Ballarat community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: