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16 ways to Ballarat Heritage Festival


The 2023 edition of the award-winning Ballarat Heritage Festival is here!

From May 19-28, Ballarat will be abuzz with locals and visitors alike uncovering the city’s rich history through immersive experiences, quirky tours, inspiring exhibitions and engaging workshops.

There’s also a mouth-watering line-up of eat and drink offerings as part of the festival, culminating in a full-on foodie weekend at Sovereign Hill.

All this is backdropped by Ballarat’s stunning Victorian architecture – what’s not to love?

The festival debuted in 2007, so to celebrate its 16th birthday, we’ve pulled together a list of 16 ways for you to enjoy the festival. We’ve included some long-time favourites plus some new additions for 2023 that are sure to get you excited.

So get planning, book your tickets and invite your favourite people to join you at this year’s festival.

The Ballarat Beard and Stache Competition is hosted at the iconic Hop Temple, where you’ll also discover an array of live music, craft beer and plenty of delicious food

Ballarat Beard and Stache Competition
This festival highlight celebrates all forms of facial hair. There’s even a pooch version for your four-legged friend!

Ballarat Tweed Ride
Grab your bike and don your best tweeds, velvets, capes and kilts for this iconic event where fashion and cycling combine on a fun ride through the city’s historic streets.

Book your spot for the first-ever Candlelight Ballarat

Candlelight Ballarat: movie soundtracks featuring Hans Zimmer, Joe Hisaishi and more
Head to Civic Hall for a live, multi-sensory musical experience set to hundreds of flickering candles.

Craft Lab 23: Light & Dark
Now in its third year, Craft Lab is a celebration of traditional artisinal skills coupled with contemporary flair and the moment where the functional becomes beautiful.

Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill is a celebration of the autumn harvest, growing seasonal food and preserving it through age-old practices

Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill
A full foodie take-over of Sovereign Hill awaits. Producers, makers and retailers unite to deliver a food-lovers feast with markets, masterclasses, kids activities and more! Don’t miss sessions with renowned identities like Julia Busuttil Nishimura and Tony Tan. Delicious!

Vintage Car Show
Join the Ballarat Classic and Vintage Car club for a cavalcade of historic vehicles, motorbikes and caravans hosted against the historic backdrop of Lydiard Street.

Ballaarat Antique Fair
Over 26 quality dealers will be exhibiting and selling a variety of interesting, unique and wonderful items in the art deco icon that is Ballarat’s Civic Hall.

Explore the Ballarat Old Gaol and uncover its colourful history

Ballarat Old Gaol Tours
Uncover the colourful history of the former gaol and its inmates during a guided tour. Be immersed in the past through artefacts, blueprints, images and more.

Ballarat Town Hall after dark tours
Explore this magnificent building like never before with Ballarat’s expert dark history researcher, Nathaniel Buchanan – creator of the Ballarat Ghost Tour and the intimidating Aradale Asylum Ghost Tour.

Mount Mitchell Estate Tours
Explore this National Trust listed property’s extensive grounds and architecture before indulging in a Devonshire tea in the bluestone stables.

The Great Takeaway is an exclusively tailored dinner for 60 guests. Image: Bowie Wallace.

The Great Takeaway
Dine amongst some of the finest materials, textiles, glassware and ceramics produced in the Ballarat region – then take the handcrafted materials home with you!

Tales & Ales at Aunty Jacks
Enjoy a five-course degustation where traditional and modern cuisine collide. As an added bonus, each course will be matched with a locally produced beer.

Enjoy a four-course dinner that utilises locally sourced products and ingredients from the land and will be prepared according to traditional methods

The Larrikins at Peasant
The team at Peasant have joined forces with the Larrikin gin makers from Kilderkin Distillery for a collaboration of old-world traditional food coupled with exquisitely crafted gin using century old methods with modern twists.

The Heritage Collection at Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute
This one is for the history buffs. An introduction to the history of the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, you’ll have an opportunity to examine some of the most valuable collection items.

Discover Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings and Watercolours at the Art Gallery of Ballarat

Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings and Watercolours
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood are amongst the most loved artists of the 19th century. This outstanding international exhibition draws from the extraordinary collections of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to tell the story of the artists, their lives and loves and is presented in Australia exclusively by the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Back to Back International Wool Challenge
The Back to Back International Wool Challenge is a timed event where teams compete to process the wool from a sheep’s back into a jumper in the fastest possible time.

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19 May 2023

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Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.


© 2023 Ballarat In The Know. This initiative is funded by the City of Ballarat and Tourism Midwest Victoria.