There’s no town quite like Ballarat, and the annual Heritage Weekend is back again to prove it.
For over a decade, Ballarat Heritage Weekend has been delivering an immersive, engaging and fascinating experience for visitors in a way to go beyond the surface. With a storied history and incredible streetscapes, Ballarat is an exciting place to explore and this event delicately intertwines the past and present to create a unique offering unlike any other.
By the end of this weekend, visitors will leave the city having loved everything about it, from its epic laneways, authentic stories and local creatives, to the amazing chefs, winemakers, and brewers who use the best produce our region has to offer.
We’ve highlighted some of the events from the fiery, action packed weekend.
This year Ballarat will be burning brightly across the weekend, as the streets, laneways and stories of this gorgeous city are brought to life with fire pits, fire displays and entertainment.
As you stroll through the famous CBD on Saturday night, you’ll come across a number of fire bits, barrels and installations making for a unique Ballarat Heritage Weekend experience like never before.
Expert storytellers will be on hand to help provide a detailed account of the history and heritage of Ballarat, using fire as a medium for discussion, while visitors will also have the chance to share their own stories of Ballarat.
Keep an eye out for the roving entertainment and flame cannons – it promises to be a fiery affair.
Ballarat’s Beard & Stache Competition
As part of The Ballarat Heritage Weekend, The esteemed Ballarat Beard and Stache Competition is back at Hop Temple on the Saturday, giving people that chance to enjoy some spectacular staches and beards, celebrating all kinds of facial hair.
You can enter your stach-tacular beards in any applicable category. Think moustache, full beard, partial beard or the verdi (an impeccably groomed beard style). There is also a “just for fun category,” where you can play around with fake beards or freestylers. Even the ladies can get involved. With free entry and more than $1000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, you’d be mad not to get around it.
Shave your if’s and but’s for later. Even if beards aren’t your thing, this event will definitely have them grow on you.
Tours of the Old Ballarat Gaol
Ballarat is saturated in Australian history, making it a perfect opportunity to spend the day exploring the criminal history of the town’s early days with a guided tour of the old Ballarat Gaol – including a look at the goal tunnels and turrets in Virtual Reality.
With tours running every hour across the weekend, visitors can uncover the colourful history of the former gaol and its inmates and explore Ballarat’s criminal underworld of the 19th century through artifacts, blueprints and images as part of an extensive exhibition.
This one even includes new material on the lives of the women held in the Ballarat Gaol and their stories. Oh, and the best part is it’s all free!
Ballarat Lifestyle Magazine Tweed Ride
Another regular highlight for the weekend includes The Tweed Ride held on Sunday, May 26. This immersive and unique experience is unlike anything else. Dress in your best dapper and elegant tweed, ride through Ballarat’s beautiful streets, and listen to some of the amazing stories that the city’s unique and iconic architecture holds.
Not only will you get to enjoy all the different vintage attire, but you’ll also find a variety of bikes from penny farthings, modern racing bikes, to decorated bikes, vintage bikes and shearing bikes. It’s the perfect excuse to get involved in something a little different! There will even be awards for the best-dressed riders and spectators, so get creative!
What’s a weekend away without a little bit of magic?
As one of Australia’s leading magicians and magic/illusion consultants, Adam Mada has almost 20 years of experience creating, teaching and performing original magic and illusions for live theatre, events and screen and he will be making his way into the heart of Ballarat for a free show. Mada’s live performances are at the front line of contemporary magic with a nod to the golden era of grand illusionism, his unique show is in demand across the country touring twice through India, courtesy of the Australian High Commission.
He is currently the Australian magic and illusions associate for the global smash hit ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ as well as the Magic /illusion designer and director for the highly anticipated stage adaptation of Mem Foxes Australian classic ‘Possum Magic’ – touring Australia.
Coffee Exchange by Mr Black
As part of the historic weekend, visitors can also expect uniquely heritage-infused food and drink that’s sure to be the envy of your Instagram followers.
Courtesy of our favourite Mr Black cold brewed coffee liquor, guests will be able to sample carefully crafted cocktails from some of Ballarat’s best venues for one night only on Saturday evening from 7:30pm.
Combining two of our favourite things, coffee and cocktails, you’ll find unique concoctions from The Lost Ones, Workshop Cafe, Moon & Mountain, Mitchell Harris, Kittelty’s, Cafe Sidra, Healthy Hub, Freight Bar, Canberra Hotel & Websters, plus something a little colder from Il Piccolo Gelato.
Take some old favourites, add plenty of imagination, and get your taste buds ready to be blown away. This one’s a ticketed event and can be booked via www.plateupballarat.com.au.
These are only some examples of the huge selection of events on that weekend, so definitely jump on their website and suss out which events would suit you the best. Ballarat Heritage Weekend is presented by the City of Ballarat and is held over May 25 – 26. For details, visit ballaratheritageweekend.com or follow the event on Facebook and Instagram to be part of the heritage discussion.