Bendigo businesses consider leaving the lights on late for White Night as festival preparations continue

Businesses considering cashing in on Bendigo’s White Night will get the chance to extend their hours amid hopes trade will skyrocket.

They are being urged to apply no later than Sunday 8 July to trade outside of normal hours during the nighttime light festival in September.

Organisers hope to entice anywhere up to 40,000 people onto the city’s streets for the inaugural Bendigo event.

That figure would be similar to the number of revellers who attended Ballarat’s first White Night in 2017, when seven bars, restaurants and other licenced premises sought to trade outside normal hours.

That event proved to be a white hot success, with an estimated 60,000 people filling the streets for the second installment in 2018, according to The Courier.

Picture: THE COURIER

Picture: THE COURIER

Schnitz Bendigo franchisee Daniel de Vries said White Night was the busiest day of trade at his Ballarat stores in 2017 and in 2018.

Businesses hoping to trade late during White Night should lodge applications with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

They would need to make sure they did that after they registered with White Night organisers.

Grill’d Healthy Burgers Bendigo franchisee partner Richard Nash said his group would apply for an extra four trading hours.

That would take the store’s opening hours through to about 2am, when White Night finished.

“Obviously there will be lots of people coming into town so it could be a big trade night, but more than that, it will hopefully be a good night for Bendigo,” Mr Nash said.

Picture: THE COURIER

Picture: THE COURIER

Grill’d was not the only store considering extending its trading hours late during White Night.

GPO Bendigo was normally licenced until about 1am.

“We will do it (stay open later) provided we can open with an extension to our alcohol licence,” manager Muturangi Ruha said.

The Hotel Shamrock Bendigo is currently in contact with festival organisers and is considering keeping its bistro, as well as Yard Bird Bar and Kitchen and the Gold Dust Lounge, open late on White Night.

“I think we could go through until the end of the event, but we will see what is happening,” general manager Brendan Farrugia said.

“If there’s heaps of people around, and the demand’s there for it, we would probably want to replicate what we’ve seen in Ballarat and stay open. We are licenced until 3am.”