Bellarine’s Major Events and Festivals
The Bellarine not only offers beautiful scenery and the best of food, wine and produce, it boasts a whole calendar of events from small community markets, festivals and fairs to some of the greater Geelong region’s biggest events like the National Celtic Festival held in Portarlington every Queen’s Birthday weekend and Queenscliff Music Festival which both attract the best national and international performers and visitors from all over Australia.
The Queenscliff Music Festival attracts over 100 acts during its November event which began in 1997. Over the years it has brought some of the biggest names in music to perform in the beautiful Victorian township including The Cruel Sea, David Helfcott, Mark Seymour and Ron Peno just to name a few. While over at Portarlington the annual Celtic Festival held has had a pretty impressive line-up of local and international artists in recent years including Solas from the USA, Eleanor McEvoy from Ireland and Christine Primrose from the Isle of Skye.
Portarlington also plays host to the Mussel Festival each January. This event attracts a huge crowd to the already summer swell of the township. Food lovers flock to the mussels which are renowned for some of the best tasting seafood in the region. The festival also features plenty of chances to taste some of the peninsulas other great produce, wines and even local beers. The festival features some great entrainment, market places, art shows and lots of fun for the kids, plus the annual tug of war completion.
For the third big event in Portarlington, there’s the Bellarine Show, the rural show celebrates the best of the Bellarine Peninsula. Held every March the show features some of the best animals, produces, food and handcrafts the Bellarine has to offer. The Gum Boot Toss is one of the fun events which has become a family favourite of the show. There’s a whole array of farm animals for the kids to enjoy including cattle, sheep, poultry and even llamas.
The Barwon Heads festival of the Sea in March is another fun family event with plenty of activities along the Barwon River. The highlight of the festival is the release of hundreds of yellow duckies which swim down the river in a duck race; it is a delight for young and old. The festival also features rides and amusements for the young and regally includes camel and pony rides. There’s plenty of great food, markets, art shows and some wonderful entertainment ranging from bands to roaming performers.
Nearby Ocean Grove has its festival in April each year and it takes over the main street of the township. The Terrace is transformed into a huge marketplace with stalls and exhibitions. There is great music, food and fun for the whole family.
The Bellarine’s markets are a great day out and the place to buy some of the freshest locally grown produce, plants and flowers. There’s always some tasty home style cooking to take home including mouth-watering cakes, pies and slices. The jams and preserves are a favourite and the Bellarine’s olive oils, cheeses and wine is as good as you will get anywhere. Most markets are run during the warmer months while a few are open all year round, visit Intown’s market calendar for dates and more information.
Summer sees some great sporting events held on the Bellarine including the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in January, The Rip to River Run in December where hundreds run along the sand in a huge race from the Pt Lonsdale lighthouse to Barwon River. Point Lonsdale Surf Lifesavings Club hosts the Rip View Swim Classic in January with a quarter of a century of heritage.
As well as these major events the Bellarine plays host to a wide array of smaller fairs and festivals. Visit the Intown Events calendar for more information.