The Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival is back for its 48th consecutive year, but this time there is a special focus on celebrating diversity within the community.
The week-long event will start with an official opening at the Eaglehawk Town Hall on Wednesday, where short films from local secondary school students will be shown.
From March 13-22, there will be art exhibitions, trivia nights, Arabic story time for pre-school children, and Possum Skin Cloaks made by Bendigo's Indigenous community on display at the Eaglehawk Library.
There will also be traditional Chinese dance from the Central Victorian Lion Team and the Tony McCaig Cycling Criterium, which will follow a new circuit around Market, Panton, Napier and Seymoure Streets.
Eaglehawk Town Hall will also be full of colour with over 500 entries of different flowers, including dahlias and roses, on display at the annual Flower Show.
There will also be fun for the whole family at the traditional Gala Fair at Canterbury Park, where for the first time the Itchy Feet Pep Band will be performing.
Festival President David Richards OAM said the week-long event showcased "Eaglehawk at its best".
"The secret to the longevity of the event is that we are all volunteers, everyone of us" he said. "Not one person that runs this festival is paid.
"It's a true community festival and that's what makes it special," he said. "No other thing like this happens in the City of Greater Bendigo.
"You can see and feel the community spirit," he said.
The theme of this year's festival is 'We Are One', which Mr Richards said highlighted the diversity of the community and the fact that everybody was welcome in Eaglehawk.
"We’re a country made up of many people who all have different abilities," he said. "Every culture, religion and nationality is welcome."
With weather expected to be very pleasant this weekend, Mr Richards said organisers were hoping crowd numbers would be high like previous years.
"We always say that on the Saturday we expect probably between 2000-3000 people," he said. "On the free family day on the Sunday there's usually between 1500-2000."
The event began in March 1972 when the Governor of Victoria Sir Rohan Delacombe officially opened the festival. Forty-eight years later, Mr Richards said the event was still going strong.
"We have a saying in Eaglehawk - we do things thorough in the borough," he said. "We have a lot of fun and that's what it's all about. The community coming together and having fun."
"It's the one time of the year when Eaglehawk comes alive," he said. "Eaglehawk really turns it on."
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