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Ballarat Winter Festival

Winter Wonderlights will transform Sovereign Hill’s iconic streetscapes and goldfields into a wonderland of sound, lights and wintry delights.

Think falling snow, blazing fires, delicious food, warming drinks, hands-on activities, live music and interactive theatre shows. Gather your family and friends and ignite your senses at Sovereign Hill‘s annual winter spectacular, part of the Ballarat Winter Festival. Be quick to book this exciting event as it only runs from 24 June until 16 July.

Ballarat Winter Festival

Sound and Light Shows to Excite

Experience the sound, lights and wintry delights of Sovereign Hill’s Winter Wonderlights (24 June–17 July).

With a dazzling light show, full theatre program, hands-on kids’ activities and more, the popular tourist attraction will again deliver a Christmas in July like no other.

Ballarat Winter Festival
Albury’s Skywhales launch event. Image: Jeremy Weihrauch

New to the festival this year is Skywhales: Every Heart Sings – two spectacular hot air balloon sculptures which will take flight from Ballarat’s Eastern Oval on Saturday 9 July at sunrise. 

Australian contemporary artist Patricia Piccinini is the mastermind behind Skywhale and Skywhalepapa.

The launch will be accompanied by music written by Canberra’s Jess Green (AKA Pheno) in collaboration with Patricia, plus the ethereal sounds of a 100-strong children’s choir.

Ballarat Winter Festival
The Design Exchange Winter Market will be held at the Ballarat Mining Exchange

Spanning two days (9-10 July), The Design Exchange Winter Market will showcase Victoria’s most creative designers and makers in the Ballarat Mining Exchange. 

Celebrate small business, handmade, ethical trading and creativeness in an atmosphere that is inclusive and inviting.

Ballarat Winter Festival
Celebrate winter with the inaugural Beyond Dark presented by The Design Exchange

But wait – there’s more!

On Saturday 9 July, The Design Exchange team will present the inaugural Beyond Dark, a new event honouring the moody depths of winter with food, mulled wine, fire pits, live music and roving performers in Alfred Deakin Place and Camp Street. 

It is being described as “a winter fiesta like none that has ever before bestowed itself upon the city”.

Ballarat Winter Festival
Book your tickets for the pop-up Ballarat Winter Festival ice-rink today!

Returning to the heart of the CBD is the beloved pop-up ice skating rink from Saturday 25 June until Sunday 17 July.

Located in Armstrong Street South between the Ballarat Town Hall and Myer, the rink will feature child-friendly, sensory and disco skating sessions.

For the first time, it will also host Bollywood on Ice sessions with a live DJ mixing the hottest Bollywood tunes whilst you skate.

Ice skating tickets sell quickly, so advanced online bookings are encouraged. 

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

Ballarat Winter Festival
Knight of the Flame Sir Hector fires up his flaming sword to put heat on the Dark Night. Image: David Caird

Kryal Castle’s Knights of Fire and Snow Queen Neva winter school holiday program (25 June–10 July) will ignite your imagination and leave you enthralled.

Watch the spectacular ‘fire’ joust and be dazzled by flaming swords and fiery tricks in this festival of flames.

Ballarat Winter Festival
Sample the thoughtful menu by the roaring fire at Johnny Alloo

“Winter in Ballarat, contrary to popular belief, is an extremely warm place to be,” City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney said. 

“Warm in hospitality, friendship, entertainment, 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 Ballarat 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.” 

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