Shire benefits from big Easter events
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.”