Award-winning Heritage Festival returns to Ballarat this May

Big beards, bike rides, traditional crafts, walking tours, steam trains, and more – the Ballarat Heritage Festival is back, better than ever, from Saturday 21 May to Sunday 29 May.

With only a month until the 2022 festival kicks off, you can now check out the full program online and begin booking your unique experiences.

Recently taking top honours in the ‘Festivals and Events’ category at both the 2021 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards and the 2021 Victorian Tourism Awards, the City of Ballarat events team is certainly not resting on its laurels.

This year sees a new addition to the festival program- The Food Edit, a host of festival‐long food focussed activities culminating in the Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill during the last weekend.

With Ballarat’s stunning Victorian architecture as the backdrop, the Ballarat Heritage Festival highlights the city’s golden past, while showcasing its glittering present and promising future.

Acting Mayor, Cr Amy Johnson said everyone in Ballarat can be proud of the achievements of the Ballarat Heritage Festival and this year’s program has something for everyone.

“Council is so incredibly proud to present the 2022 program for the award-winning Ballarat Heritage Festival,” she said.

“This event is such a big tourism draw-card for our city and region, but it is also very much for our local community as well. It is something special to be able to immerse our residents in a uniquely Ballarat experience.

“I encourage all residents to get out and experience the incredible events on offer and invite your family and friends to visit Ballarat and the Ballarat Heritage Festival.”

In addition to a new focus on food, this year’s program features all its festival favourites such as the Ballarat Tweed Ride, Steam Train Rides, the ever-popular Beard and Stache Competition, and the Craft Lab.

Don’t miss these iconic Heritage Festival events:

The Food Edit Saturday 21 May- Sunday 29 May

Experience fabulous dining all festival long at venues throughout the city, from an intimate cocktail event at Johnny Alloo, wine and cheese workshops at Mitchell Harris Wines, gin and cheese pairing masterclass at Kilderkin Distillery and much more. Knead to try your hand at sourdough bread baking, or dive into dumpling‐making – book into a workshop to get tips and advice from an expert.

Ballarat Tweed Ride: Saturday 21 May

With a route taking riders through Ballarat’s historic and picturesque autumn streets, this is a casual event of cycling, fashion, and fun. Celebrating ten years of the ride, participants are encouraged to dress in vintage and heritage‐inspired outfits of tweeds, velvets, capes and kilts and commemorate this milestone anniversary.

Beard & Stache Competition: Saturday 28 May

The annual Ballarat Beard & Stache Competition honours hirsuteness in all its forms. With more than $1000 in prizes over varied facial hair categories, there is also a Just for Fun section for men, women, and children who want to get creative. Hosted at Hop Temple, this event promises good food, good beer and even better beards.

Craft Lab: Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May

This two‐weekend event showcases heritage trades, fine arts, traditional practices, cultural rituals, lost skills and contemporary practice combined. Meet makers and crafters eager to share their skills in weaving, cremains, natural dyeing, knife making, silverwork, musical instrument crafting, upholstery, and traditional First Nations crafts. Workshops with local practitioners are scheduled throughout the week.

Steam Train Shuttles: Saturday 21, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May

From Ballarat Railway Station, Steamrail Victoria will be operating two vintage steam locomotives. The route heads off up the hill towards Melbourne, before branching onto the old line towards Geelong, for a scenic return ride towards the town of Lal Lal. From there, the second locomotive will take over to complete the one‐hour return journey back to the Station. Passengers can soak up the atmosphere, experiencing ‘old‐school’ air‐con with the windows open in heritage wooden carriages dating back to 1906.

Self‐Guided Digital Heritage Tours: everyday

Self‐guided augmented reality walks via a QR code will encourage visitors to explore 10 of Ballarat’s most fascinating historical landmarks. Best done with an accompanying audio tour, the tour experience includes compelling stories from various perspectives, and quirky facts about each location.

For more festival details, including how to make bookings, go to ballaratheritagefestival.com.au

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