CBD rides a hit with punters

RELATED:Bendigo Easter 2017

BACK IN TOWN: Aerial rides made their long-awaited comeback to the CBD.

BACK IN TOWN: Aerial rides made their long-awaited comeback to the CBD.

Precisely placed next to outstretched elm-tree branches, carnival rides made their long-awaited comeback to the city’s streets.

Two aerial rides, along with a simulator, dodgems and a fun house, were squidged onto Mundy Street, between Pall Mall and Lyttleton Terrace, for Bendigo’s Easter Festival on Saturday.

Not since 2009 have rides been in the CBD, and the positive reaction from punters and stall holders was palpable.

Foot traffic, and business, had noticeably improved from last year’s festival, according to stall holder Annette Calder. 

“People have been coming up to me saying, ‘thank god you are back in the street’,” she said. 

And while the number of stalls and rides was down about 50 per cent from when it was held at the Tom Flood Sports Centre, that was offset by improved foot traffic, she said.

Ms Calder, who is a third-generation stall holder, said priority was given to stall holders with the longest association to the festival.

“We’ve been told their is a possibility of spreading the site across two adjoining streets next year,” she said.

Simulator ride owner Charlie Miller said people were “coming from everywhere”.

“The public drove this change – they wanted it back in the CBD,” he said.

“It suits the public, the stall and ride holders and the local businesses.”

BACK IN TOWN: Aerial rides made their long-awaited comeback to the CBD.

BACK IN TOWN: Aerial rides made their long-awaited comeback to the CBD.

A number of local businesses had combined to push the carnival to the city’s outskirts, believing it was damaging their custom, Mr Miller said.

Rides were shifted from the Tom Flood Sports Centre to make the festival more visible in 2017.

Deputy mayor and festival reference group chairman Rod Fyffe earlier this year said the shift in location meant rides would sit at the heart of the festival precinct.

In a Bendigo Advertiser online poll in January, 95 per cent of respondents voted they would like to see the carnival back in the CBD.