Playful events: Alex Baker, Rick Dexter and Aaron Calver limber up ahead of festivals of sport and beer. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Cheers to a bumper weekend

February 18, 2021 BY

FOOTBALL and froths will have Ballarat buzzing this weekend.

In one of the city’s biggest event-filled weekends since COVID-19 restrictions eased, Western United will play the Macarthur Bulls at MARS Stadium, while 4000 beer lovers enjoy brews and soak up the sun at the Ballarat Beer Festival.

Western United player Aaron Calver said the team hopes they can “make a fortress of our own in Ballarat.”

“It’s a huge footballing region down here. We’ve brought local talent into Western United, like Alex Baker, so to get the crowd behind us here is massive,” he said.

“We’ve been playing some really good footy, so it’s just a matter of time before things click for us. The league’s really tight this year. The boys are upbeat, and we’ll be rearing to go on Saturday.

“Once we have our first win in Ballarat… it gives us an advantage to play here when other teams have to travel down.”

Ballarat Beer Festival director Rick Dexter said attendance at his event is set to be up 20 per cent on previous years, although the planned Sunday FunkNFest event had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions.

“It’s going to be a huge, full-on weekend. There’s so much on. Ballarat rocks,” he said.

“The Beer Festival should be a sell-out, the way things are going…for our 10th birthday. We now have a comedian as our MC, Hung Le.

“No-one can go interstate with the boarder closures, so everyone’s travelling to the regions. Ballarat’s going to have a bumper year.”

New local brewpub, Aunty Jacks will have a stall at the Festival. Owner Brian Taylor is looking forward to it.

“Events are coming back to Ballarat and this weekend is a great opportunity to show the contrasting things we offer, with sports and the Beer Festival,” he said.

“We’re the new kid on the block, but we’re excited. The craft beer industry is very resilient, everyone aligns and works together.”

Cr Tracey Hargreaves said it’s great to see the community come back together.

“Ballarat people love their sport and festivals, so it’s a win-win for everyone,” she said.

“It’s a really good sign that we’re on the road to recovery.”