Shire ben­e­fits from big Easter events

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers have es­ti­mated that ma­jor ac­tiv­i­ties and events in Stawell dur­ing the Easter week­end in­jected be­tween $8-mil­lion and $10-mil­lion into North­ern Grampians Shire’s econ­omy.

They are also con­fi­dent that the fig­ure might even dou­ble when com­bined with Grampians Grape Es­cape fes­ti­val at Halls Gap on May 5 and 6.

North­ern Grampians Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Bai­ley said an in­flux of about 10,000 peo­ple in Stawell and an­other ex­pected 5000 in Halls Gap had an enor­mous eco­nomic im­pact on the re­gion.

“From a busi­ness per­spec­tive, the suc­cess of events at this time of year, dur­ing the Easter pe­riod, pro­vides a guar­an­teed in­come year in, year out,” he said.

“Im­por­tantly, they also pro­vide a snap­shot of what the shire has to of­fer and act as a lure to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­turn at other times of the year.”

Shire Easter ac­tiv­i­ties started with a Great Western Rodeo on Fri­day and con­tin­ued in Stawell on Satur­day with a Main Street Sen­sa­tion fes­ti­val and Stawell Gift ac­tion. There was also an Easter Street Party.

Sun­day fea­tured a Stu­art Mcgre­gor Stawell Gold Cup race meet­ing and Mon­day di­rected at­ten­tion to Stawell Gift semi-fi­nals and fi­nals.

“There were big crowds at all of them. The street party, in only its sec­ond year, was chock­ers and has given us con­fi­dence to lock it in as an an­nual event,” Mr Bai­ley said.

“The weather plays a ma­jor role in how many peo­ple the events at­tract and this year it was su­perb. And let’s be hon­est, the Stawell Gift con­tin­ues to put Stawell and the broader shire and Wim­mera on the in­ter­na­tional map.

“We can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of all these events to the fi­nan­cial, cul­tural and so­cial well­be­ing of our shire. It is crit­i­cal that the com­mu­nity con­tin­ues its long-term com­mit­ment to and sup­port of the week­end. It is such a cul­tural mix of sport and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­ity and im­por­tant in so many ways.

“Our or­gan­i­sa­tions across the shire or­gan­ise com­mu­nity events in­cred­i­bly well and as a coun­cil we’re com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing them. There is al­ways some­thing on of­fer.

“It all adds to the liv­abil­ity of the North­ern Grampians, mak­ing it a great place to work and visit.”

Mr Bai­ley said ma­jor-event plan­ning would now zero in on the Grampians Grape Es­cape.

“We’re ex­pect­ing a large vis­it­ing crowd to roll into Halls Gap and to per­haps in­vest even more money in the area dur­ing their stay than at the gift,” he said. “We have many in­di­ca­tors sug­gest­ing as much. For ex­am­ple, $70,000 went through an on-site au­to­matic teller ma­chine at Halls Gap last year. This rep­re­sented only a snap­shot of the fi­nan­cial bonus it rep­re­sents, with ven­dors also ex­chang­ing money through their own Eftpos fa­cil­i­ties.

“And this year looks like an­other big fes­ti­val with many pos­i­tive signs. Ticket sales are well up.”

Michael Bai­ley

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