The Ballarat Begonia Festival is back, blooming with 23 days of immersive installations, creative displays, live music and more

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


The Ballarat Begonia Festival is back, blooming with 23 days of immersive installations, creative displays, live music and more

The much-loved festival is back and it looks a little different this year.

Ballarat is set to bloom this month as the City of Ballarat delivers a reimagined, immersive Ballarat Begonia Festival. Across 23 days, the festival will deliver a vastly different yet
prolific program of immersive installations, creative displays and more.

The key takeaways

  • Ballarat’s Begonia Festival has returned and expanded into a three-week event
  • Ballarat’s historic streetscapes will bloom with festivities
  • The iconic display of over 700 Begonias in the Conservatory at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens will continue to be a festival favourite

Keep up with the latest festival news via our website.

The three-week event will take over the city’s 150-year-old botanical gardens, the CBD, and Ballarat parks from Saturday, March 6 until Sunday, March 28 in a bid to showcase the city’s premium natural assets, while dispersing crowds in a covid-friendly manner and encouraging visitation in support of local business and economic recovery.

With a brand new program, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in flowers, food and fun times with an abundance of immersive installations, creative displays and more.

As always, the botanical gardens will serve as the event’s main attraction, with its floral display including a multi-coloured display featuring 700 rare and common begonias. It is breathtakingly beautiful and a must-see for your festival itinerary. For those with a real green thumb, an audio tour will also be available to listen to while viewing the floral extravaganza that will highlight the history of Ballarat’s gardens and begonias.

A real highlight this year is the Illuminated Garden on Sturt Street’s median strip, an installation imagined by local set-design and production house Form Imagination and local creative agency Picture Thinking. Reminiscent of Melbourne White Night and Geelong After Dark events, guests can immerse themselves within three illuminated areas that are distinctly Ballarat, but unlike they’ve ever seen before, with the Lake, Discovery and Bloom.

Adorning the Town Hall this year will be a Begonia inspired Floral Garland, created by Deanne Gilson, award-winning local artist, and proud Wadawurrung woman. Deanne has handcrafted and painted bespoke Begonias, each made from paper clay, while over in the Civic Hall, patrons can explore an urban garden of plants and flowers championing local and regional florists under the guidance of renowned floral artist, Katie Marx. Running from Saturday, March 6 to Sunday, March 14, this installation includes a spectacular ‘floating’ carpet of begonias, pioneered by Floral Enterprise’s Kevin Moneghetti.

Guests will also be able to follow the Floral Frame Trail, stock up at the Ballarat Begonia Festival Gardeners Market, and discover the talents of the local florist industry with multiple floral crate displays.

Alongside the highlights, the festival will also see a number of events take place across the city, including a progressive dinner showcaing botanicals, a free Garden Day community event, pick your own sunflowers in Dunnstown, a garden to vase workshop, farmers markets, and even exercise in the park, plus heaps more.

You’ll also find an slew of roving entertainers in the Sturt Street Gardens on the weekends, including magic shows, stilt-walkers, acrobats and bubble blowers, as well as a hearty roster of live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from either the Golden City Hotel’s balcony or the 1816 Bakehouse alcove. Expect to be serendaded by the likes of Fat Tuesdays, The Sam Boon Trio, Rhyley McGrath, The Broad Arrows, Meraki Minds, Shell Yeah, Motor City Sounds, and Candi Wade, among others.

Of course it wouldn’t be a festival without a selection of Ballarat’s culniary delights on show so expect to indulge in some of the best from local establishments throuhgout the festival.

Go on, surround yourself with flowers, food and fun times at the Ballarat Begonia Festival this month.

The festival runs from Saturday, March 6 until Sunday, March 28. Visit the website for more information.

Turn your inbox up to 11. Sign up to Forte’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food, booze and culture stories twice a week.