Events large and small draw crowds over long weekend

LOADED with events for the whole family, Bendigo’s calendar was full over the Labour Day weekend.

Thousands of people visited the city to take part in events or caught up with friends and family over Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Headline events included the Bendigo International Madison and the Urban CFA State Championships.

City of Greater Bendigo manager of tourism Terry Karamaloudis said the March long weekend was one of the most important on the city’s calendar.

“In terms of numbers, you couldn’t compare it to an Easter festival but on the events calendar, the March long weekend is most important,” he said.

“An iconic event in like the Madison, which has been running over 40 years, has built its reputation and almost guaranteed an audience.

“We added the fire brigade championships and it has made Bendigo sought after destination.”

As well as major events, smaller attractions like the Moonlight Marker and the Bull Street Music Festival also drew crowds.

“On the events calendar, large events are good leverage points for people to create other events. The Moonlight Market is a perfect example of that,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“We helped establish the Bull Street music festival as another event within an event for fire brigade championships but it is also for the general public. From all indications it was a well received part of the weekend.”

Mr Karamaloudis said the long weekend also attracted a number of former Bendigo residents.

“The major events play in to the visiting friends and relatives market. That is 50 per cent of our visitors,” he said. 

“For people who have an affinity and emotional connection with Bendigo, the long weekend is a big attraction.”

Bendigo’s next major events weekend is the Bendigo Easter Festival that runs from March 30 to April 2.

“The Easter festival is an all-time favourite and this year’s entertainment program is one of best we have seen,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“It is well known around Australia and is the longest continually running community festivals.

“There is lots of new stuff coming in, and all signs are pointing right direction of it being another bumper event.”