With the Year of the Dragon celebrations continuing in 2024, the Bendigo Easter Festival will be a major highlight featuring an exciting program of events from Good Friday March 29 to Easter Monday April 1.
Bendigo Easter Festival Reference Group Chair Cr Vaughan Williams said the Bendigo Easter Festival program included spectacular highlights and family favourites for the community and visitors to enjoy.
"As it is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Lunar Year, this festival is going to feel extra special," Cr Williams said.
"What better way to celebrate the Year of the Dragon than by seeing the world’s longest Imperial Dragon Dai Gum Loong weaving majestically through Bendigo’s centre in the Sherridon Homes Gala Parade.
"The Year of the Dragon is also the theme for the parades, and we are encouraging the floats to be decorated to embrace this special theme. It’s going to be exciting to see so much colour and vibrancy.
"The festival program also includes many unique celebrations and traditions, including cultural performances displaying Bendigo’s Chinese heritage, and the popular O’Brien Electrical and AC Torchlight Procession.
"The Bendigo Easter Festival has a wide variety of fun attractions and activities suitable for people of all ages.
"People can enjoy Carnival Central, music and entertainment, markets, and community events during the festival.
"It’s important to be aware that only smaller community-run events will be held on Easter Monday April 1, so I encourage people to look at the program so you can plan your trip to many festival favourites with your family and friends.
"The Bendigo Easter Festival is a homegrown treasure that attracts around 80,000 people across the duration of the festival.
"Its success is due to the work carried out by City of Greater Bendigo staff who ensure the whole festival runs smoothly, the incredible support from the Bendigo Easter Fair Society, our enthusiastic volunteers, community groups and fantastic sponsors including our premium sponsor Agnico Eagle Fosterville Gold Mine.
"I would like to thank everyone involved for their highly valued support which enables the City to deliver a fun and welcoming festival.
"As we prepare for this year’s event, we are also calling for volunteers aged over 15 to help out at the festival in various roles. The minimum volunteer shift is four hours. You can volunteer for one or two shifts or more over the long weekend. Volunteers have a lot of fun being part of this special festival."
- From 9.40am to 4pm on Good Friday March 29
Join the Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt featuring 85,000 Easter eggs in Rosalind Park. Tickets will go on sale this Friday February 16 so do not miss out. Ticket sales
- From 2pm on Good Friday March 29
A special cricket match will be held at the Queen Elizabeth Oval to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first women’s cricket match in Australia which was held during the Bendigo Easter Fair (the location may be subject to change due to local cricket season finals). An exhibition to commemorate the match will be at the Bendigo Historical Society at Mackenzie Street (please check the program for times)
- From 8pm on Good Friday March 29
The Way of the Cross on the Fosterville Gold Main Stage in Rosalind Park
- From 11am to 12.30pm on Easter Saturday March 30
A Joyous Celebration draws on the traditions of the Lunar New Year for the morning family festival. The Bendigo Chinese Association and visiting Chinese associations will grace the stage at this event to celebrate the Year of the Dragon
- From 2pm to 4pm on Easter Saturday March 30
The Awakening of the Dragon features a traditional celebration of lion and dragon dance presented by the Bendigo Chinese Association and visiting lions. Around 100,000 firecrackers are used to wake Dai Gum Loong from his slumber in preparation for his appearance at the Sherridon Homes Gala Parade (please note, Dai Gum Loong does not appear publicly during the Awakening of the Dragon)
- From 8pm onwards on Easter Saturday March 30
The popular O’Brien Electrical and AC Torchlight Procession will light up our beautiful city on Saturday evening and conclude with a dynamic firework display over Rosalind Park
- From around 12.30pm on Easter Sunday March 31
The Sherridon Homes Gala Parade will feature a diverse range of bands, cultural groups, school groups and Chinese lions before Imperial Dragon Dai Gum Loong makes his appearance along View Street and Pall Mall before returning to the Golden Dragon Museum
- Rosalind Park will be a hive of activity with live music, entertainment, food stalls and a range of exciting family fun activities. Families can enjoy the popular Octonauts performing on the Fosterville Gold Main Stage at 11.10am and 1.05pm on Saturday March 30 with a meet and greet at 12.05 and 2pm in Rosalind Park
- From Good Friday March 29, Easter Saturday March 30 (10am to 11pm) and Easter Sunday March 30 (10am to 6pm), Carnival Central at Mundy Street will bring the thrill of the rides and sideshow alley games to entertain the whole family.
- From 9am to 4pm on Good Friday March 29, the Rotary Market returns to Pall Mall and Easter Fair Way where festival patrons can browse the arts and craft, unique treasures, handmade items, and delicious goodies. Please note due to the Gala Parade on Easter Sunday, the Rotary Market will be held at Easter Fair Way and Hargreaves Street. There will be over 200 stalls taking part over the two days
- On Easter Saturday March 30, the Moonlight Easter Market will be held from 10am to 4pm in Hargreaves Mall and in Hargreaves Street
- From Good Friday March 29 to Easter Sunday March 30, the Bull Street Festival returns with a great lineup of live music presenting the best of local and regional talent
- Community-run events are taking place from Good Friday to Easter Monday including the Bendigo Book Fair, Bendigo Easter Art Fair, and a Parade of Quilts and much more