The Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival has been crowned the state’s best of its kind at the 2022 Victorian Tourism Awards announced last night in Melbourne.
The festival – delivered by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council – edged out the Adventure Park Geelong Winter Glow Festival and the Ballarat Heritage Festival to take top spot in the Festivals & Events category.
The Autumn Festival attracted close to 15,000 visitors this year and provided a welcome boost to the local economy. As a category winner, it will now go on to represent Victoria at the Australian Tourism Awards to be held in Sydney in March 2023.
Mayor, Cr Annette Death, said she was thrilled to see Council recognised for its hard work as a first-time entrant in these awards.
“The last couple of years have presented significant challenges for tourism,” she said. “We have worked really hard to get tourists back to the region to visit our amazing attractions and support our local businesses.
“I’d like to congratulate our team on an incredible effort, and thank all of our local businesses and everybody who supported our Autumn Festival program.”
Macedon Ranges Shire Council also took out bronze in the Local Government Award for Tourism category, which recognises excellence in tourism planning, facilities and the contribution to the Victorian tourism industry.
Judged by a panel of industry leaders appointed by the Victoria Tourism Industry Council, the Victorian Tourism Awards showcase the state’s leaders in tourism excellence and acknowledge outstanding innovation, industry professionalism and collaboration.
Planning is now underway for the 2023 Autumn Festival, which will take place throughout April across nine historic villages to showcase the region’s makers, producers, artisans and attractions.
Visitors can explore and discover the beauty of autumn in the Macedon Ranges by experiencing vibrant farmers markets, curated trails and itineraries, open gardens, foodie experiences, artisan workshops and events.
New ‘Tipple Trail’ itineraries will encourage visitors to discover country pubs, breweries, distillery and cellar doors in the region, providing further opportunities for businesses to get involved.
Businesses, community groups and creatives are being encouraged to submit their autumn-themed event for the 2023 festival program by Friday 9 December.
Bakeries, cellar doors, pubs, cafes and restaurants are also encouraged to submit a signature pie or tart for the Autumn Pie & Tart Trail, a popular event launched at this year’s festival.