Ballarat Heritage Festival: Full Programme

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Full program details for the award-winning Ballarat Heritage Festival (19-28 May) have been released, with the annual event to put the city’s rich heritage, unique stories and vibrant creative community front-and-centre.

Backdropped by Ballarat’s stunning Victorian architecture, Ballarat Heritage Festival’s awe-inspiring ten-day program will highlight the city’s golden past as well as its evolving future. With something for everyone – from retro explorers and spooky fanatics; to the heartening antique lovers and innovative creators – visit Ballarat and explore the eras of the city’s colourful history. 


Candlelight Concerts

For the first time in Ballarat, experience some of the greatest pieces of film music by candlelight at the Ballarat Civic Hall. Under the gentle glow of thousands of candles, an orchestra will captivate audiences with scores from Hans Zimmer (The Lion King), John Williamson (Star Wars) and more in a serene listening setting.

Craft Lab 23 

Now in its third year, Craft Lab is a celebration of traditional artisanal skills coupled with a contemporary flair. Over four days, 17 carefully selected practitioners from across the Ballarat region will share their knowledge and techniques, showcasing some of the best crafts and design items produced locally.

From upholsterers to spinners, shoemakers to armoury makers, wild weavers to eco-dyers, visitors can get up close to see, touch and feel the different crafts from the practitioners themselves. There will also be opportunities for visitors to take part in talks, demonstrations and workshops where they can have a go at their own crafts with the support and guidance from experts.

  • When: Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May | Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May  
  • Time: 10am to 5pm 
  • Where:  Ballarat Mining Exchange  
  • Tickets: Free entry with workshops and other experiences bookable online 

The Great Takeaway  

In an Australian first, The Great Takeaway will introduce guests to a new dining concept with visitors dining amongst some of the finest materials, textiles, glassware and ceramics produced in the Ballarat region – and then be able to take the handcrafted materials home with them. 

This exclusively tailored dinner for up to 60 guests will feature a three-course meal with drinks and entertainment with guests seated in the exhibition display of Craft Lab in the heritage-listed Mining Exchange building.

Ballarat Antique Fair

Make your way to one of Ballarat’s classic art deco buildings to pick-up one-off heirlooms, period pieces and collector’s items. Browse more than 26 antique dealers selling a variety of beautiful, delicate and interesting pieces – from jewellery to furniture; artwork to ceramics; silverware to linen, and objet d’art.

  • When: Friday 19 to Sunday 21 May
  • Time: Friday: 4pm – 8pm | Saturday: 10am – 5pm | Sunday 21: 10am – 4pm
  • Where: Ballarat Civic Hall 
  • Tickets: $10-$15 

Ballarat Tweed Ride 

Ballarat’s iconic Tweed Ride returns! Take a unique ride through Ballarat’s historic and picturesque autumn streets in high style. A casual event of fashion, cycling and fun, riders dress in vintage and heritage-inspired outfits wearing tweeds, velvets, capes and kilts. With all types of bikes welcome, keep an eye out for some of the quirkiest cycle styles. 

  • When: Saturday 20 May 
  • Time: 10am to 12pm 
  • Where: Departs from Pipers by the Lake, Lake Wendouree 
  • Tickets: $10 

Old Gaol Tours

Uncover the complex criminal history of Ballarat’s former Gaol and its dark inmates through storytelling, ancient artefacts, old blueprints and striking photos. Explore the grounds that held notorious criminals and discover the original Gaol’s tunnels and turrets through a not-to-be-missed virtual reality experience.

  • When: Friday 19 to Sunday 21 May
  • Time: 9:00am – 5:30pm
  • Where: Federation University SMB Campus (site of the former Ballarat Gaol)
  • Tickets: Tickets are free, but bookings are essential  

The Ballarat Heritage Festival program will also feature a number of special food and drink experiences, show-stopping performances and insightful workshops and demonstrations. 


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