UPDATE: About 2500 people attended a celebration of the winter solstice in Castlemaine.
Village Winter Festival general manager Ariel Valent said this year’s event was a “great success.”
“The daytime saw hundreds of children interacting in the Wonderworld,” he said.
“As the sun went down, the Castlemaine community gathered for the firelighting ceremony which saw a giant iron chandelier suspended above the crowd release fireworks into the sky and a huge fireball ignited with a big bang.”
He said Jan Wositzky and the Willy Wagtails led festival goers in a bushdance that evening.
“Old dances were revived and new choreography performed by local dance acts,” Mr Valent said.
“Later, Melbourne-based band 8 Foot Felix got a crowd jumping along to their lively tunes whilst others warmed themselves around open fires with a mug of mulled wine.”
EARLIER: Mulled wine. A fire to keep you warm. A feast, cooked over a traditional Torres Strait Islander kup-murri. Tunes to dance to on a crisp, winter’s evening. And family-friendly entertainment.
That’s just some of what’s in store at the fourth Village Winter Festival in Castlemaine on Saturday, June 18.
More than 50 events are planned for the day, from 1pm until 11pm.
Festival general manager Ariel Valent said the festival was part carnival, part village fair, and part arts festival.
“It has become central Victoria’s annual meeting place for maverick musicians, devilish dancers, vivacious visual arts and thrilling theatre,” he said.
“Enter through the impressive façade in Castlemaine’s Victory Park and explore the alternative utopian world created amongst Indian wedding tents, random caravans and a warming communal fire.”
Highlights of the festival include Dances Old and New, exploring the town’s historical relationship with dance.
“From the forgotten dance forms of the Dja Dja Wurrung to the big social dances of decades past, to the current day where hip-hop, ballroom, tap and tarantella are all practiced,” he said.
“The whole community is invited to learn some dance steps: then dance, prance, shake and gyrate at the all-in “bush dance” led by storyteller and original Bushwacker Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky.”
Mr Valent encouraged families and their pets to dress in theme for this year’s famous village dog show.
The entrants with the most cohesive, spectacular look will win an award.
This year’s community firelighting ceremony will feature a giant iron chandelier, lit by fire and suspended above town’s streets.
“In the Village Playground, kids can meet sweets matron Penny Candy, play interactive games in the Amusement Alcazar, and experience the human digestive system from the inside in the Caravan of Consumption,” Mr Valent said.
He said about 2000 people attended last year. The event celebrates the winter solstice.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for concession holders, and $5 for teens aged 13 to 17 years.
Children aged 12 years and under enter for free.
A $5 discount will be applied to tickets bought on the day before 2pm.
Mr Valent encouraged people to see the festival website for more information.