Onward and Upward

The joy expressed by this visitor to the last Pyrenees Unearthed festival in our opening image, exemplifies the sense of relief we were feeling last week about the prospect of life continuing to return to “normal”. After a year we all want to forget, when so many of our much loved festivals and events were cancelled, it was a delight to see many of them returning to the fold in 2021. That was before we were thrown into lockdown once again.

This newsletter was ready to post last week, then came the news of another lockdown. It was a shock, especially as it extended to regional Victoria – that in itself felt very unfair as the regions have been pretty much Covid free for a long time. But a statewide ruling was the call and we all had to comply. Thankfully it has been brief.

As we navigated our way through 2020, we have seen businesses being innovative, courageous and finding their way around the restrictions looking toward better times. So drawing on the optimism of these businesses and of the organisers of the festivals and events who are returning, we are continuing to move forward too. We’re not going to let some crappy virus hold us back any longer. I don’t know who said it, but it really is a case of “onward and upward”.

The generosity of small towns

The generosity of country people has come to the fore once again. Recently a local lady was creating a favourite dish for dinner and found she didn’t have onions in the pantry – essential for the dish she was creating. A quick trip to the supermarket proved that onions were sold out. Being directed to the “fruit shop” next door, which hadn’t been a fruit shop for some years and was now Meg’s Place Cafe, the now desperate friend asked in the cafe where she could find onions. Without hesitation, Meg went into the storeroom, emerging with three beautiful onions and handed them over with her compliments. The friend was relieved, the recipe was saved and a simple act of generosity proved once again that community is very strong in the country. Meg’s Place is at 56 Albert Street, Creswick – learn more here

Mary Quant at Bendigo Art Gallery

It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior and Mary Quant.     –    Ernestine Carter

From 20th March to 11th July, 2021, Bendigo Art Gallery will present Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary, a retrospective exhibition on the iconic British fashion designer Dame Mary Quant.  Bendigo is the exclusive Australian venue for this exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Full details click here

For Your Diary


Ballarat Begonia Festival is back 6th to 28th March

Not long to go before the new look Ballarat Begonia Festival takes place for an extended period this year. Events will be dispersed throughout the CBD rather than centred at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. More details here

Castlemaine State Festival 18 March to 4th April

It comes around every two years and luckily it will fall in 2021 and not 2020. 17 days of music, theatre, visual arts, talks and more – all happening at great venues and outdoor spaces from Castlemaine to Bendigo. More details here

Avoca Race Day – 20th March

Gather your mates and family racing enthusiasts for the Avoca Autumn Races to be held Saturday 20th March. The event will operate a Tier 3 COVID Safe event under the current Public Event Framework and the race day experience will be different, but the fun is no less great. https://bit.ly/2YG7Pjh


Bendigo Easter Fair
2nd-5th April

The City of Greater Bendigo is planning a family-friendly program of activities to celebrate Easter in 2021.  The smaller, three-day program will replace the 150th Bendigo Easter Fair celebrations and will take place over a number of locations. The 2021 program will feature timed and ticketed activities that will take place in venues where patron entry and exit can be managed in a COVID-safe way.  More details here

Pyrenees Unearthed
17th April

Pyrenees Unearthed will showcase the best of the award-winning wines that the Pyrenees region has to offer and is a fun filled day for all. Groups, couples, singles and families are invited to come along and enjoy an afternoon of fabulous local produce, live music and wines by the glass, as well as free kids activities. Running from 11am to 5pm. Due to Covid entry is limited so book your tickets early here


General view of the Fraser Street Book Bazaar at the 2017 Clunes Booktown Festival. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Clunes Booktown 1 – 2 May

The annual Clunes Booktown Festival returns on the first weekend of May 2021, where the town of Clunes will transform into the most amazing whole town bookshop experience in Australia. Tickets & more details here

Pig & Whistle 15-16 May

A 2 days of events and racing amongst the picturesque towns, and forests of Creswick and Clunes of the Goldfields, The Dirty Pig & Whistle celebrates the best of the region’s gravel roads, laneways, produce and people. More details here

Quenching that thirst

Craft beer is becoming increasingly popular and there are some excellent small breweries attracting a loyal following around the region. Covid has created problems as with everyone, but these brewers are visionaries.

Red Duck Goes to Market

Met up with Scott Wilson-Brown of Red Duck Brewery at Creswick Market recently, making his excellent brew available to a broader market. The Red Duck cellar door is open Thursday to Sunday at 11a Michaels Drive, Ballarat from 11am to 5pm (when not in lockdown) or you can find Red Duck at good bottle shops, Creswick and Ballarat Lakeside markets and online at http://www.redduckbeer.com.au

Scott Wilson-Brown – Red Duck Brewery

Shedshaker also goes to market

Another craft brewery opting for market exposure is Shedshaker from Castlemaine. They can be found at Castlemaine and Bendigo Farmers Markets and at The Mill in Castlemaine as well as online at http://shedshakerbrewing.com/

New Kids on the block

A newbie in the growing craft beer coteries is Bankhouse Brewery in Dean. Operating since early January, Damien and Davina Norman are excited about their new venture and the uptake on their brew, since they opened early January. Only open on weekends and they can be found on the Ballarat/Daylesford Road at Dean. You can’t miss the sign 0407 687 291

Damien & Davina Norman

Markets this weekend

We’re confident that markets are getting into full swing, so we’re listing the coming weekend’s markets. I hope so as I have a shopping list …

Talbot Market

Trentham Farmers Market Buninyong Farmers Market Creswick Market
Glenlyon Country Market

Talbot Farmers Market
Woodend Market

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