The Ballarat Begonia Festival has just launched their 2020 program and it doesn't disappoint. There's plenty to keep you busy and entertained for the duration of the Festival from Sat 7 to Mon 9 March 2020 over the Labour Day long weekend from 10am to 5pm each day. FREE to attend, this is one Festival worth visiting to commune with nature's beautiful begonias.
There are also other garden displays like the Apprentice Display; a collaboration of ideas from the Parks & Gardens Apprentices filled with flora but also inspirational up-cycled furniture and rescued pieces from the transfer station that adds to the quirkiness of garden bed displays. The Pond and Wetland Display will show you how you can grow things in them and then there's a display of beautiful floral art where you can pick up on the skills and techniques it takes to create these masterpieces.
Image - Ballarat Botanical Gardens
Head to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, Gillies Street North, N Ballarat where the event is held to soak up the atmosphere. Line up along Wendouree Parade between the South and North Gardens and find yourself a good vantage point for the Festival Parade on Monday 9 March 2020 from 11am to 11.30am. Awards will be presented in five different categories. Take note that Wendouree Pde will be closed from Carlton St to St Aidans Drive between 6.30am to 1pm and entry to the Festival car park is from the north only. See HERE for details.
If you're up for VOLUNTEERING, many hands make light work - so head over HERE for details and to apply.
Don't get lost at the event. Check THE MAP and transport/parking options so you know exactly where everything is, and your proximity from it all, along with the FAQs. You can grab a physical Festival Map at the event or head to the Festival Information Marquee outside the Conservatory and talk to friendly staff and volunteers.
For the kids, the Garden Trail Map & Clue Sheet has 12 hidden things to discover. For the young mums there are Baby Change and Feeding Facilities located next to the Super Sandpit. Other services provided on the day includes a Plant Creche where you can leave your purchased plants so you're not carrying them around while you explore the rest of the Festival. Drinking taps, ATMs, accessible toilets, First Aid station, and Waste Stations are onsite to aim to achieve a more sustainable Festival, so do the right thing. This is a smoke free event and friendly poocheson leads at all times are welcome.
What is a Festival without food! Local MasterChef icon and Ballarat's own Tim Bone and pocket rocket Anushka Zargaryan, also from MasterChef are in the house, and on the Begonia Stage on Sunday 8 Mar. Sunday appears to be the cooking demo day amongst other activities also on the same stage.
11am - Tim Bone: The secret behind Tim's Toasties
11.45am - Anushka Zargaryan: Middle Eastern and European flavours
12.30pm - Poh Ling Yeow: Cooking Master Class
1.30pm - Cooking with Tim & Anushka: How to cook up an autumn feast
The BEGONIA STAGE has more than cooking demos, hence for the rest of the activities and their timeframes over the whole long weekend, follow the link.
From Welcome to Country on the first day (Sat 10.15am) to basking in the company of Costa Georgiadis and Sophie Thompson and having a Meet & Greet with Bluey and Bingo - popular ABC Kids characters (unfortunately, bookings for the meet & greet have completely sold out) and much more, take note of the timeframes and days so you don't miss out on your favourite activities and events.
Don't worry, you won't just be watching food demonstrations. The Festival has got you covered when the hunger pangs start knocking. From Mains to Coffee & Sweets and Alcoholic Beverages, just follow the link. Calamari is always a popular choice for seafood lovers and the Chef Calamari food truck will be waiting for you. European, French, Mexican, Chinese, Danish, Indian, wood fired pizzas, Begonia Bar and more; you'd think you were in an international food hall and not a begonia festival.
There's fine Timboon Ice Cream, Gelato, Brownies and Coffee to wash it all down as a sweetener after your Mains, and for those with a penchant for something a little stronger, well, you're catered for too with Cubby Haus Brewing, Kilderkin Distillery, Red Duck Brewery and Wightwick Wines.
Last but not least, there's a full ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP on the International Stage, Beaumont Stage, and Potter's Stage and Roving Entertainment you'll bump into as you roam the Festival. With a huge variety of entertainers strumming different genres, it'll keep you coming back to check them out each day. Kicking off day one with Well Strung at 10am, this semi-acoustic trio from Launceston do covers old and new and try to avoid songs that have ben done to death. At end of first day, last band and Ballarat's own, Shell Yeah kicks in at 4.15pm in time to invigorate you with their authentic surf guitar music of the late 50's and early 60's and play music from The Beach Boys, The Shadows and so forth. They also delve into classic rock tunes by The Beatles, B52's and many others.
There's so many in the lineup to discover over the three days, it's going to be days of begonia, bands and a-Bundance of things to do for the whole family.