Big crowd likely at Warracknab­eal

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Easter Festival - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Any re­gional fes­ti­val that at­tracts up to 5000 peo­ple to var­i­ous at­trac­tions dur­ing a week­end is a big deal, to say the least.

And this year Warracknab­eal’s Yfest Easter Fes­ti­val might well eclipse pre­vi­ous crowd num­bers.

The four-day fes­ti­val, start­ing on Good Fri­day, has be­come an iconic coun­try Vic­to­rian at­trac­tion and has the added bonus in 2017 of be­ing a ma­jor jump-off event for Warracknab­eal’s 150th cel­e­bra­tions on the June long week­end.

Fes­ti­val sec­re­tary-trea­surer Jean Wise said 2017 was an his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant year for the north­ern Wim­mera cen­tre, and while there was no of­fi­cial theme for Yfest this year, his­tory was an ob­vi­ous choice.

“Ev­ery­thing is go­ing re­ally well in plan­ning and we’re hope­fully in for an­other suc­cess­ful year,” she said.

“It is all com­ing to­gether and there are go­ing to be so many in­ter­est­ing things to de­light lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike.

“Ba­si­cally, we haven’t picked a theme other than the lead-up to the 150th cel­e­bra­tions. So, when it comes to the floats in the Satur­day street pa­rade there are likely to be some with a take on his­tory.”

Y-fest runs from April 14 to 17. Last year thou­sands of peo­ple from across the re­gion and be­yond in­cluded the fes­ti­val in their Easter-break plan­ning.

“It’s true we had some­where be­tween 3000 and 5000 peo­ple at­tend­ing var­i­ous events last year, and this year it has the po­ten­tial to be even big­ger con­sid­er­ing it in­cludes a 50-year mile­stone for the Wheat­lands An­nual Vin­tage Rally,” Mrs Wise said.

“It’s re­ally hard to gauge how many vis­i­tors and ex­hibitors will be at the rally this year, but it’s go­ing to be many.

“We al­ways es­ti­mate about 1200 to 1500, but this year, apart from the 50th mile­stone, we are a week be­fore a na­tional rally in Hamil­ton and peo­ple are book­ing in for both.

“Peo­ple have been con­sis­tently reg­is­ter­ing vin­tage ma­chin­ery and ve­hi­cles and up to the mid­dle of last week we had al­ready sur­passed the num­ber of ex­hibitors last year.”

The Wheat­lands 50th An­nual Vin­tage Rally is at Warracknab­eal’s Wheat­lands Mu­seum from Satur­day to Mon­day of the fes­ti­val.

Mrs Wise said the Easter break rep­re­sented one of the best times of the year for peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence what Warracknab­eal district and the broader Yar­ri­ambi­ack Shire had to of­fer.

“The Yfest rep­re­sents an oc­ca­sion when Warracknab­eal re­ally opens its arms to the re­gion and be­yond,” she said.

“Of course we wel­come any­one at any time, but this oc­ca­sion is a spe­cial time of the year when the town comes alive and its pop­u­la­tion se­ri­ously bulges at the seams over four great days.”

A Warracknab­eal Cup race meet­ing, buskers, art show and a street pa­rade, as well as the vin­tage rally, are among some of the ma­jor at­trac­tions.

Mrs Wise, also rally sec­re­tary for 20 years, said she would get to see her first Satur­day street pa­rade.

“Satur­day has al­ways been such a busy rally day at the mu­seum, but I’ve stood down to give some young peo­ple the job. I now in­tend to go to all events,” she said.

Mrs Wise, also a Yar­ri­ambi­ack Shire coun­cil­lor, added the fes­ti­val would con­tinue to evolve into an event that went well be­yond at­tract­ing re­gional vis­i­tors.

“It will be the per­fect stopover point for in­ter­na­tional tourists keen to take in the de­vel­op­ing Silo Arts Trail from Patchewol­lock to Ru­pa­nyup,” she said.

“There are plenty of sto­ries al­ready about vis­i­tors mak­ing the trip here es­pe­cially to the see the si­los.

“The lat­est in­volves back­pack­ers who had ar­rived from over­seas and headed straight from Melbourne to Brim to see the silo – their first point of call in Aus­tralia, which is amaz­ing.”

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