BENDIGO sign here to stay, VIVA program a success

The BENDIGO lettering that was installed at the Rosalind Park Piazza to celebrate the Elvis: Direct from Graceland exhibition is here to stay.

The VIVA BENDIGO sign has been hugely popular as a day/night photo experience for visitors and now the BENDIGO lettering will remain as a permanent feature.

City of Greater Bendigo Manager Tourism and Major Events Terry Karamaloudis said one of the aims of the sign was to create a legacy for Bendigo long after the exhibition finished.

“We saw this as a great way to invest in a new installation for our city centre and like many cities around the world, provide that great photo opportunity for tourists and residents,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“The sign has been incredibly popular during the exhibition with thousands of locals and visitors taking photos and dancing to Elvis tunes. We have even seen marriage proposals, wedding photos, public demonstrations, fire twirlers, events and plenty of selfies.

“The letters were manufactured locally by Bendigo Tramways and the VIVA letters will be put into storage for future use, while the artwork within the BENDIGO lettering will be replaced to complement our upcoming Bloom spring tourism campaign.”

The VIVA Bendigo program that was put together to complement the exhibition and enhance the visitor experience and encourage people to stay longer has wrapped up and been a huge success with over 90,000 people visiting the program on the tourism website.

Over 50 events, activations, accommodation packages and experiences were created by City staff and local businesses for the exhibition period.

Key experiences included the Burning Love concert series, which showcased some of Australia’s finest contemporary music artists joined by The Burning Lovers house band, featuring the best of local musicians paying tribute to The King.

Visitors and residents also enjoyed the Jungle Room in the Rosalind Park Conservatory, Shake Rattle and Roll Cocktail Tram, Getting Hitched at Hustler and Elvis movies provided by Star Cinema at Mackenzie Hall, and speciality menu items such as Blue Suede Choux pastries, Aloha Bendigo Pacific Pale Ale, Elvis-inspired food including burgers and ice cream, and beautiful themed shop displays.

There were 1,848 VIVA Bendigo accommodation packages sold by the Bendigo Visitor Centre, three times the amount sold during the 2016 Marilyn Monroe exhibition, and 1,175 tickets to special events and tours were also sold. 

“We have been thrilled by the response to this program from visitors and our community, and the enthusiasm from traders to help make for a memorable experience,” Mr Karamaloudis said.

“Right from the start of the exhibition there was a great buzz around town and it has been an exciting few months for our city and region. We have welcomed people in unbelievable numbers, which has been hugely beneficial for our local economy and we hope that there will be many return visits as a result.”


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