Festival visitors a boost for Heathcote

February 23, 2024 BY

UP to fifteen-hundred people are expected to visit Heathcote for the Harvest Festival this coming Labour Day long weekend.

The event will be held at Barrack Reserve on Sunday 10 March from 4pm.

“Often events like this can generate more sales for local businesses,” said owner of Swirls Gifts and Décor, Jodi Warren.

“A lot depends on a number of factors, including the weather and the timing of the event.

“The gift shop will be closed by the time the festival starts but I’m hopeful there will be visitors staying in town and browsing.”

Manager at Heathcote Retreat Motel, Georgie Moate, said she had bookings for approximately half the units for the festival weekend.

“I’ve noticed a trend over the last few years. People often don’t book until the last minute.

“Perhaps after COVID 19, they are a bit more hesitant, but we always end up fully booked when we have events like the Harvest Festival.”

Joan Stammers, from The Watering Hole said she welcomes the increased tourism to town.

“I think anything that encourages more tourists has to be good for the town, but I do have one reservation,” she said.

“I’m disappointed that the organisers bring in so many food vans when we have a huge range of eateries in Heathcote.

“They are all within walking distance of the venue and it would be nice if local food sellers could also benefit from the event.

“We have all food tastes covered and great coffee. It’s sad that the food trade is going to people from other areas.”

Visitors to the town often enjoy browsing in real estate agents’ windows, according to Anita Connally from Connally’s Real Estate.

“People often return to Heathcote after events like the Harvest Festival to look at properties they’ve seen advertised in the window,” she said.

“Sometimes the next weekend but we can get people who were here for the festival, weeks or even months later.

“They like what they’ve seen in town and, if they’re considering a move, they come back for a look at what’s available.

“I’m not surprised. It’s a lovely town with lots on offer.”