Bold art, artisan crafts and big beards – Ballarat Heritage Festival 2021

Bold art, artisan crafts and big beards – the Ballarat Heritage Festival is back better than ever, running from May 7 to 30.

The festival, originally a single-weekend affair, is running for more than three weeks for the first time in the event’s history.

After the event was held online in 2020, this year’s Heritage Festival is set to be not only a celebration of the city’s rich history, but a chance for people to reconnect and celebrate being able to come together and experience what Ballarat is all about.

The beautiful buildings set the scene for what the festival has in store. But don’t expect traditional exhibitions that match the age of the architecture, this festival is all about mixing old and new, retro vibes paired with innovative thinking, celebrating country and culture, a city that’s proud and historic while evolving to meet the needs of its community.

Expect thought provoking art, hands on experiences, exciting installations and the ever-popular beard & stache competition.

While the festival is a celebration of the region’s rich heritage, the wonder of yesteryear will be brought to patrons through innovative displays, including augmented reality, for a truly immersive experience.

From beer school and instagrammable public art installations to craft demonstrations and progressive lunches, this year’s extended 24-day program sees the return of festival favourites as well as a series of new COVID-safe activations to discover.

Enjoy a self-guided augmented reality walk at your own pace and take a glimpse of Ballarat through the eyes of those gone before. Follow the trail with your phone in-hand to uncover scenes from Ballarat’s past.

While you’re in town, experience the thriving foodie scene, don’t forget to grab a coffee, a cocktail and a meal at one of the many amazing establishments, many of those housed in some of the most beautiful heritage buildings that adorn the Ballarat streets. As part of the festival, there will be a number of special foodie events, including beer school, high tea and a picnic in a cemetery.

“We’ve lived through an incredibly difficult time in our recent history, so I invite you to look back on our shared past to learn and experience the lessons of yesteryear,” City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said.

“We know Ballarat is known for its rich heritage, but we are inviting people to delve a bit deeper and find out more about what makes our city special.

“Stories of our history will be told through new immersive technologies, hands on experiences, demonstrations and community programs.

“By looking to our heritage, we can discover our unique strength and resilience.

“I encourage you all to dust of your tweed, oil up your retro bikes, sign up for the very entertaining Beard & Stache Competition or take a ride on a heritage steam locomotive.

“Embrace past innovations and learn more about how we can take lessons from the past to better our collective future.”


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