Ballarat Heritage Festival returns from 17-26 May 2024 and the full program has been released.

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Ballarat Heritage Festival
Ballarat Heritage Festival

The Ballarat Heritage Festival has released the full program for the awe-inspiring 10-day event that showcases and celebrates the golden city’s rich and vibrant past. From 17 to 26 May, Ballarat’s iconic Victorian architecture will serve as the backdrop for the annual festival that explores the hidden treasures and untold stories of the region’s history and its people.

This year’s program sees an assortment of new additions set to captivate festival-goers as well as much-loved crowd favourites. Victorian Opera in association with Short Black Opera and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music will perform a not-to-be-missed original Wadawurrung creation story on Country for the first time. Back for a second year, The Great Takeaway is a fully immersive dining experience where guests get to keep the handcrafted table setting pieces made by local artists.

With more than 40 events across two weeks, Ballarat Heritage Festival offers something for everyone. Visit Ballarat and watch the city come alive with free interactive exhibits, city tours and installations; live performances; hands-on workshops; one off ticketed events; plus, unique transportation experiences.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Parrwang Lifts the Sky 
Based on an original Wadawurrung creation story, this all-ages opera tells the story of how Parrwang the magpie helped lift the blanket of darkness on the land to create the first dawn. Performed in both English and Wadawurrung, this will mark a momentous occasion with the show to be performed on Wadawurrung Country for the first time.

  • Friday 24 May at 6pm and Saturday 25 May at 12pm
  • Ballarat Civic Hall
  • Tickets: $24-$35

The Great Takeaway
An exclusively tailored three-course dinner that sees art, craft and gastronomy come together for one night only. Held in the historic Ballarat Mining Exchange, The Great Takeaway provides guests with the opportunity to dine among some of the finest materials, textiles, glassware and ceramics produced in the Ballarat region – with diners able to take home the handcrafted dinner setting at the end of the evening.

  • Thursday 23 May from 6:30pm
  • Ballarat Mining Exchange
  • Tickets: $275pp

Monuments
Cap off festival evenings by savouring globally renowned outdoor video installation Monuments by Australian artist Craig Walsh. Moving images will be projected onto the trees lining Ballarat’s picturesque Sturt Street with the installation’s subjects drawn from the city’s recent and not-so-recent past, including First Nations artist, poet and singer Barry Gilson as well as Charles Zhang from the Chinese Australian Society of Ballarat.

  • Friday 17 to Sunday 26 May
  • Sturt Street, Ballarat CBD
  • Cost: Free

Craft Lab 24
Now in its fourth year, Craft Lab returns to the Ballarat Mining Exchange with 17 practitioners – from weavers and metalworkers; to ceramicists, jewellers and more – who will share their knowledge, expertise and rare trade secrets with visitors.

  • Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May; Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May, 10am-5pm
  • Ballarat Mining Exchange
  • Cost: Free entry

Heritage Harvest Weekend
Food lovers can experience an unexpected takeover of Sovereign Hill with a two-day festival celebrating all things harvest – from growing seasonal produce and preserving it; to using the results of these age-old practices to create food for the everyday family table. The weekend will also feature demonstrations and masterclasses with notable foodies like Great Australian Bake Off judge, chef and author Darren Purchese, plus family entertainment and kids’ activities.

  • Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May
  • Sovereign Hill

Steam Train Rides
Climb aboard The Vintage Train and travel in style to and from Ballarat. Choose from various options including day tours between Golden Plains and the scenic hills of Bacchus Marsh or a convenient shuttle between Melbourne and Ballarat for an elevated Heritage Festival experience.

  • Saturday 18, Sunday 19, Friday 24, Saturday 25, and Sunday 26 May
  • Various locations between Ballarat and Melbourne
  • Tickets: From $31

Ballarat Antique Fair
Wander one of Ballarat’s classic art deco buildings to browse and shop from more than 25 quality antique dealers, exhibiting and selling a variety of treasures, heirlooms, collector’s items and period pieces including jewellery, furniture, silverware, ceramics, artwork, linen and objet d’arc.

  • Friday 17 to Sunday 19 May
  • Ballarat Civic Hall
  • Tickets: $12-$15

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

  • Sunday 19 May
  • Lydiard Street, Ballarat CBD
  • Cost: Free entry

Ballarat’s Jewish Heritage: John Safran in Conversation with Dr Sue Silberberg
Be part of a panel discussion between writer and documentary maker John Safran and historian Dr Sue Silberberg that explores the Jewish influence on Ballarat’s social, political and religious landscape in the nineteenth century.

  • Thursday 23 May at 6pm
  • Eureka Centre, Ballarat
  • Cost: Free entry

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