It's that time of the year to stop and smell the Begonias. The Ballarat Botanical Gardens is where you need to be from the 7th to the 9th of March 2015 from 10am to 5pm to celebrate the Ballarat Begonia Festival's namesake in all its beauty in the new larger display area. Enjoy the free admission to view the stunning collection in the Conservatory.
In its 63rd year, the festival has won 2 awards for being the best regional event and Australia's favourite event. In keeping with their winning formula, this year's program is full of free activities and jam packed with all your festival favourites.
Make sure you're along Wendouree Parade, between Carlton street and North Gardens from 11am on Monday 9 March for the Power FM Parade. This festival weekend will showcase some of the best musos from the region. Roving performers will take pleasure in entertaining you as you wander through the festivities. CLICK HERE for the live music program.
Watch out for the Doc Andrew Magic Show as he roams the streets and lays it on thick to tickle your funny bone. Festive Factory's 'plantasurus Rex - a little pot of Horis', a VERY BIG plant who loves a bit of blood and bone and lives for feeding times! State of the art animatronics with puppetry produced this interactive plant-like creature that has human-like features including sleepy eyes that follow viewers. Creepy! Perhaps you'll need a good high tea after that. A garden loving couple may well invite you to their instant pop up picnic table to sit and dine with them. Be warned, they're very competitive and may end up in a contest as to who is the best at serving you.
Catch a free ride on a vintage tram throughout the Festival thanks to the Ballarat Tramway Museum!
There's a lot of fun activities for the kiddies with 'paint the town', where they can contribute to a giant colour by numbers painting of Ballarat; 'super sandpit' hosted by the Eureka Community Kinder Association, 'circus challenge' with a big top workshop open to all ages; 'creative cubbies' where kids can help build a giant cubby with recycled materials and learn about sustainability.
'The nylon zoo storytelling turtle' will have the kids experience being inside a giant inflatable turtle as they listen to a story, watch a musical performance or magic show. Do you dare to enter the branches of a rope maze tree of a 'tangled maze'? Do you think you'll be able to work out how to get out? Perhaps you'd like to test your skills at 'Scout Rope Bridge'? or just chillax and have some 'potting fun' and find out how a tiny seed turns into a beautiful Begonia or huge tree. If puppet crafting is your thing, kids can make their own puppets with the ladies at Craft Cottage to take home.
Click to enlarge this pic and enter the Scarecrow Competiiton now.
For more entertainment, wander through some of the best artistic talent and check out the Apex art show who are celebrating their 60th show within the Begonia Gardens shaded lawn area. You just might find something there you can't live without. If poetry is more your thing 'Poetry Performances with Poetry Pathways will give short performances and will have guided tours at 11am and 3pm daily. If the markets are more to your taste, there is no doubt the Creative Designer's Market will have a plethora of stalls to fulfil your desire. The Ballarat Fish Hatchery will have guided tours at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm daily and if a budding bee keeper you are, you might like to find out what goes in a Willy Wonka salad.
Since Begonia is the name of the game here, you might want to see the world's largest outdoor LEGO® Begonia flower built by Ryan Mcnaught. While there you can go on a LEGO® treasure trail to find 10 creative LEGO® treasures and you'll go in the draw to win a trip for 4 on the Pacific Jewel P&O Cruise Ship to be front and centre in Sydney harbour for the Australia Day 2016 festivities and fireworks. Yay! Stay and play a while, then make yourself a LEGO® flower to take home. In the name of all things LEGO® sit back under the stars on the Lake Wendouree foreshore and enjoy the LEGO® movie at the United Way Twilight Cinema.
If you're a little hungry after all that, go on a food tour of the world without leaving the Begonia Gardens. There's bound to be something to suit your taste buds at one of the 16 food vendor vans that will be there. The fabulous Moroccan Tea House is back thanks to Chat for Tea. If you'd like something stronger, Mitchell Harris Wine Courtyard might be up your alley in the shade of the courtyard.
Join in an interactive wine experience and train your pallet with a tasting class from their team. Last but not least, refresh yourself at the new Choose Tap Water Cafe or join celebrity gardener Melissa King in a workshop on how to grow your own food. Don't forget to enter the Scarecrow competition! Click on the image of the scarecrow above to find out more details. You have to submit a scarecrow by the 6th of March, so HURRY!
Still looking for something to do ? You can volunteer. An information session will be held on Friday 27 February from 12pm to 1.30pm, including lunch. With so much to do, check out 'Ballarat Begonia Festival's website or 'like' their
Facebook page where they have a lot of information and are constantly updating. If you don't already have a hardcopy program, click here to download the pdf format. Sounds like a real fun weekend so don't miss it!