Early weather reports are looking good for a day in the park on Australia Day.
“Picnic in the Park” is back for its second year, giving locals a chance to celebrate Australia in a relaxed atmosphere.
The free event in Victoria Park will include food vans, market stalls, kids’ activities and live entertainment.
In 2022 it was attended by around 3000 people.
The relaxed picnic was created in response to the nationwide Australia Day debate, with some choosing to abandon celebratory events, and workplaces allowing workers to forfeit the national public holiday in solidarity with Indigenous people and the belief it should be considered a day of mourning.
Ballarat City Mayor Cr. Des Hudson says for Ballarat, the Picnic in the Park strikes a balance with the morning’s Survival Day Dawn Ceremony to commemorate Indigenous people, which is expected to be attended by more than 1000 people.
“People are quite respectful in terms of how they air their views. People will vote with their feet in terms of coming to Picnic in the Park, and that’s what we want to see is people coming out and enjoying another great event that we can do in Ballarat.”
Cr. Hudson says Ballarat remains divided on the issue, but attendance numbers at both the Survival Day Ceremony and Picnic event show locals are open to respecting both sides of the debate.
“I don’t get the sense that people are in either way saying don’t go to this, or I’m not going to that. There is a very mixed crowd at the Survival Day service and it is about being on a journey and understanding the experience of our First Nations people.
But then also we’ve got other activities for others right throughout the day.”
Picnic in the Park will run from 11.30am-3.30pm and will be located at the Victoria Park sporting ovals, opposite the Inclusive Play Space on Oak Avenue.