Ballarat’s winter festival returns with fire, music, performance, soul-warming food and a Christmas in July village

Ballarat’s winter festival returns with fire, music, performance, soul-warming food and a Christmas in July village

Ballarat Winter Festival returns for 2022 with a calendar of heart-warming events throughout June and July.

It’s time to bundle up and embrace the cold with the return of the super cozy (and family-friendly) Ballarat Winter Festival.

Running from Saturday, June 25 through to Sunday, July 17, Ballarat will once again be transformed into a magical winter wonderland, with a unique array of events and activities to beat the winter blues, warm the soul and satisfy the belly.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here

And when we say a winter wonderland, we mean that quite literally with the return of headlining event Winter Wonderlights: Christmas in July event at Sovereign Hill. Set to be brighter than ever before, visitors will be swept up in the excitement of a special European-style Christmas as the entire township comes alive in Australia’s largest-ever light projection spectacle staged at one site.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Visit Ballarat (@visitballarat)

New to this year’s program is renowned Australian contemporary artist Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhales: Every Heart Sings, the spectacular hot air balloon sculptures that will take flight from Eastern Oval on 9 July.

Patrons will also enjoy the thoughtfully curated Design Exchange Winter Market, spanning two-days on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July, and showcasing Victoria’s most creative designers and makers in the Ballarat Mining Exchange. Australia is bursting at the seams with amazing independent designers, artists and creators, and The Design Exchange will provide an opportunity to celebrate and support these small businesses, handmade products, ethical trading and creativeness in an atmosphere that is inclusive and inviting.

Another highlight this year will be inaugural Beyond Dark, presented by the Design Exchange Team. This new event that celebrates the moody depths of winter with food, mulled wine, fire pits, live music and roving performers, Saturday 9 July in Alfred Deakin Place and Camp Street. A Winter Fiesta like none that has ever before bestowed itself upon the city, get ready to celebrate the dark. Embrace the cold whilst being enchanted by music and performances and sip wine under a moody winters sky by a roaring fire.

Ballarat and ice-skating aren’t generally associated with one another, but the Ballarat Winter Festival defies expectation with their popular pop-up ice skating rink. Located in the heart of Ballarat’s CBD, the skating rink is back and is guaranteed fun for the whole family. There’s really nothing like gliding elegantly over a brightly-lit smooth ice rink (when you’re able to finally let go of the side barrier, of course!), and watching kids navigate their way around is classic entertainment. In a special twist this year, there will also be ‘Bollywood on Ice’ sessions with a live DJ mixing the hottest Bollywood tunes whilst you skate. Ice-skating tickets sell quickly, and advanced online bookings are encouraged.

Over at the Ballarat Wildlife Park, guests will be able to warm themselves by the fire, purchase a bowl of spicy noodles and meet the new tiger, Kai.

Running every day of the winter school holidays, Kryal Castle will celebrate Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva. One can create magical potions, learn to sword fight or axe throw, partake in Knight School and experience live performances. While there, guests can journey through the chambers of the Dragon Labyrinth; get lost in the maze; be enchanted by pantomimes; visit the wizard in his workshop; join in a potion-making workshop; or learn the ancient art of archery.

“There will be so much going on from the tremendous Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill to the Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva at Kryal Castle, our ever-popular ice rink in the centre of the city, the Design Exchange Winter Market coupled with their inaugural Beyond Dark event, the opportunity to meet Kai the Ballarat Wildlife Park’s new tiger and of course Skywhales which promises to be truly spectacular,” City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said.

“Winter in Ballarat, contrary to popular belief, is an extremely warm place to be.

“Warm in hospitality, friendship, entertainment, and steaming cups of hot chocolate and an incredible culinary, café and boutique distillery and brewing scene.

“The City of Ballarat is again excited to help deliver the Winter Festival, and it’s a terrific opportunity to rug up and get out to support local business, enjoy our community and be with family and friends in a great winter spirit.”

To find out more, visit Ballarat Winter Festival