Bendigo Easter 2017: Festival all about family

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MORE COVERAGE: Bendigo Easter 2017

Whether it is getting up early to secure your spot at the parade, or staying out late for the torchlight procession, Easter in Bendigo is where family traditions are born.

“It’s family, it’s all about family,” says Bendigo’s Chantel Mackay.

“This year we’ve done the street rods, my husband and I did the music in Bull Street, the kids have been to the torchlight procession and the rides in the CBD. Easter is all about being with family and it’s all about the kids.”

It is a sentiment shared by many with the streets of Bendigo lined with people by 9am on Easter Sunday.

June Grist believes she’s only missed two Easter parades in her lifetime, having seen both Loong and Sun Loong make their way together through the city in 1970.

“It was magnificent. It was just so beautiful,” she said. “It’s part of Easter – getting together and watching the parade. It’s good fun.”

Kerryn Williams continued her family’s tradition this year, getting to experience the parade with her grandchildren in the same way she did with her grandparents.

“I’m 47 and I’ve been coming since as along as I can remember,” she said. “It’s brilliant. This is Bendigo.” 

Brisbane resident Natalie Coates returned to Bendigo this year with her children.

“Easter doesn’t seem right to me back home – it’s just four days off,” she said. “Here, there is so much going on.”

City of Greater Bendigo tourism manager Kathryn Mackenzie said the city was humming on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “The festival has catered for everybody.”

Ms Mackenzie said early results from the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre’s visitor survey showed 23 per cent of people coming into the centre had visited from Melbourne, 13 per cent from New South Wales, 11 from South Australia and 21 per cent from the local area.

“Of those surveyed that weren’t locals, 57 per cent said they hadn’t been here before, so that’s pretty amazing,” she said.

Bendigo Tourism Board chairwoman Kathie Bolitho said traders in the CBD had had a great weekend.

“They’ve said they had an exceptional weekend and the organisation from the city has been great,” she said.