Orange eyes Winter Festival success

Orange eyes Winter Festival success 

Chelsea Lucas

The Winter Festival has drawn to a close for yet another year.

The two week event saw an estimated 22,000 people attend street parties Ignite the Night and Brew and Bite, and has been the most successful festival yet. 19,000 skaters hit the McDonald’s Ice Rink and there were 32,000 rides shared between the carousel and ferris wheel.

The immense success of the festival over the past three years has lead to the consideration of a similar large-scale festival in neighbouring town Orange. Rhonda Sear of Brand Orange has said that a winter festival in Orange is “something we should put on the table again.”

Skaters revelling at the Winter Festival’s ice rink. Source: Chelsea Lucas

Orange has previously put on a similar event, Frostfest, which hasn’t run since 2013. Mayor Graeme Hanger isn’t threatened by Orange’s potential plans, asserting that “the Bathurst Winter Festival has its own unique identity that attracts visitors to Bathurst to experience the best of what the region has to offer.”

The success was also felt by local businesses operating in the CBD, including tex-mex restaurant Tommy’s, on Church Street, and Chinese Inn on George Street.¬†Tommy’s owner, Tommy Griffiths said that one of the Saturday nights was one of his “biggest nights ever” but isn’t sure if he’d consider operating a stall at next year’s festival, and plans to focus on serving the plethora of customers who come in to eat after seeing all the Winter Festival has to offer.

Tommy’s owner, Tommy Griffiths. Source: Chelsea Lucas

The ice rink was an illusive attraction having upsized to a capacity of 120 skaters this year. Before the festival had officially opened, 7000 tickets were purchased to skate, with one third of those being from people outside the 2795 postcode.

2017’s Winter Festival has certainly brought some much needed pedestrian traffic to Bathurst’s local businesses, which typically see a reduction in profit during the winter months, as locals prefer to stay in, and tourists typically visit during the warmer months. Vice President of the Bathurst Business Chamber, Steve Semmens, said that he thought that the real winners of the winter festival were Bathurst’s eateries and pubs.


The Ferris Wheel at this year’s Winter Festival. Source: Chelsea Lucas