The month of March has seen a major events boom for Greater Shepparton, with the calendar filled with an exciting mix of sporting, arts and culture, community and lifestyle events, showcasing the region as a dynamic events capital.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the events industry across Victoria took a significant hit. This was further emphasised for our region during the October 2022 floods which had a devastating impact on Greater Shepparton, with the region losing more than 12 key visitor events with an economic loss of around $6-$8 million. Some major events such as the Australian Football Skool’s Shepparton Cup and Victorian Country Week Tennis were cancelled, leaving a significant blow to local businesses and the visitor economy.
As the region continues to work through its recovery, events are now back on the calendar and the region, once again, is doing what it does best. Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Councillor Shane Sali, said he was extremely pleased to see the region’s events industry back in action.
“The month of March has seen the region thrive once again, with every weekend filled with large scale events,” he said.
“Our accommodation providers have been fully booked on weekends, with visitors and people having to seek options in surrounding towns. It is great to see people travelling to our region to experience the events on offer.”
The month started with a variety of events over the long weekend, including the VACSAL Indigenous Basketball Tournament, Tour De Course, Victorian Gemkhana and the Welsh National Horse Show. The middle of March the launch of the immersive 17-day Shepparton Festival, along with the two-day Converge on the Goulburn Festival and the iconic Albanian Harvest Festival.
From a sporting perspective, the region also hosted the first Shepparton Gift running event in over 23 years, which saw visitors travel to Shepparton from all around the country. The region also hosted two massive CFA events, run over two weekends at the Mooroopna Recreation Reserve, bringing thousands of visitors to the region, along with the Northern Victorian Show Jumping Classic held at WB Hunter Reserve in Shepparton and the return of the much loved Rotary Club of Shepparton Motor Show which brought the Shepparton Showgrounds to life yesterday.
“We have seen Greater Shepparton showcase what makes us so special. We are a dynamic, multicultural regional capital and this was evident at our impressive Converge on the Goulburn Festival earlier this month,” Cr Sali said.
“There has been a huge range of events on across the region on all weekends, with something for everyone. It has been great to see.”
To finish off a bumper month, the Tatura Park Equestrian and Events Complex will host the Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman Event from Wednesday 29 March to Sunday 2 April. The region will also host the second Goulburn Valley Country Music Festival on Saturday 1 April at the Shepparton Showgrounds.
Looking to the year ahead, the region will welcome the new Melbourne to Move Rally in April, along with the return of the Illuminate Festival on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 May. The two day immersive light and laser show saw a record 19,000 attendees for the inaugural event last year, with visitors from around 167 different destinations helping build the region’s reputation as an emerging cultural destination.
From a new visitor event perspective there is plenty to look forward to later in the year as the region highlights its sporting strength, hosting two significant national cycling events in the AusCycling Junior and Master Road National Championships and the AusCycling BMX National Championships in September and October.
Cr Sali said both of these events will be an impressive lead up as the region braces itself to be on the world stage as a host for cycling events at the 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games.
“These incredible events which our region is set to host are a great lead up to the upcoming 2026 Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“The month of March has seen a massive boom for our visitor economy across the accommodation, hospitality, entertainment, retail and visitor attraction sectors, helping support and create local jobs which continues to improve the strength of our economy.
“We are the regional events capital of Victoria and what has happened in March highlights what makes our region so special.”