BALLARAT's much-loved Begonia Festival will return this March long weekend with a new sustainability focus.
With plastic pollution continuing to be one of the world’s biggest environmental concerns, the City of Ballarat is hoping festival visitors will be inspired to change their behaviour towards plastic waste reduction.
Reusing waste will be the focus of the Ballarat Tramway Museum's re-imagined Floral Tram. Drawing inspiration from the festival's 1939 Floral Tram — which was decorated with hundreds of crepe paper flowers — the museum will deck out a tram with flowers made from recycled plastic bags and bottles.
Another highlight of the March 9-11 festival will be a five-metre giant turtle which visitors will fill with single-use plastic bottles to create a visual representation of the burden of plastic waste.
Presented by the event’s community partner, Central Highlands Water, the giant turtle will be transformed into public play equipment post-festival as a constant reminder of the importance of caring for our environment.
Grampians Central West Waste Resource Recovery Group (GCWWRR) will also jump on board the green theme, with its Litter Super Heroes out in force helping visitors put their rubbish in the right bin.
Or pop over to the Little Green Wagon to hear from GCWWRR about sustainability and waste issues through the Plastic Not So Fantastic campaign to reduce society's reliance on single-use plastic.
The 2019 festival program will also include the return of crowd favourites like the super sandpit, pot-a-plant activity, markets and live entertainment, plus a number of exciting new offerings to take your festival experience to new heights.
A huge drawcard will be celebrity guest Paul West of TV series River Cottage Australia (pictured above) and the return of Get Grubby TV’s dirtgirl and popular television personality Costa Georgiadis.
The Begonia Bar is back by popular demand featuring local beers from Red Duck Brewery and Cubby Haus Brewing, wines from Wightwick and gin from Kilderkin Distillery. So too is the Begonia Courtyard with The Forge Pizzeria serving pizza all weekend.
Each year, more than 60,000 people wander the Ballarat Botanical Gardens over the Labour Day long weekend and discover a multitude of fun family activities, enjoyable live entertainment, delicious local food and beautiful floral displays.