Top honour for Heritage Fest

March 24, 2022 BY

Applause: The award-winning Ballarat Heritage Festival features events like the Tweed Ride’s Fashions on the Field competition. Photo: FILE

BALLARAT has earned bragging rights over the weekend, taking home a top prize at the Australian Tourism Awards.

The city’s Ballarat Heritage Festival won gold in the festivals and events category, following its success at the state level awards last month.

City of Ballarat mayor Cr Daniel Moloney said the win put the region on the map in a big way.

“It is an amazing achievement putting Ballarat and the Ballarat Heritage Festival at the forefront on the national tourism stage,” he said.

What began as a weekend celebration of bygone eras in 2006, the Heritage Festival now features vintage fashion, cars, locomotives and tours of Ballarat’s best heritage landmarks.

The event was reimagined into a month-long celebration during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions last year, and Cr Moloney said he was keen for what’s to come when the festival returns next month.

“Seeing the success of the 2021 event excites me even more for the upcoming festival and I can’t wait to be captivated again at the 2022 Ballarat Heritage Festival in May.”

The state took out 11 titles at the national awards ceremony, a number praised by Victorian Tourism Industry Council CEO Felicia Mariani as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt by the sector.

“After an impossibly difficult two years, it’s incredibly heartening to see so many Victorian businesses and communities rewarded for their mammoth efforts to recover,” she said.

“These awards are a testament to the resilience and passion of our sector.”

Tourism minister Mary-Anne Thomas echoed Ms Mariani’s comments and said the state was returning to its strong tourism offerings.

“Victorians are back enjoying the things they love and that includes the best destinations and attractions in the state,” she said.

“It is fantastic to see the quality of the Victorian tourism industry recognised and we are backing businesses in this sector to grow and create jobs right across the state.”