Big crowd likely at Warracknabeal
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.”