Answer … well if you’re my kids and it’s the Ballarat Beer Festival the answer is A LOT. Our day started out in fits of giggles, even before we got there, when my littlest miss looked me straight in the eyes and asked me when we were going to the ‘Beard Festival’ and how would we get the ‘beards’ off afterwards. Classic Miss G - can’t you just imagine what had been going on in her little mind?
Ballarat decided to put on her finest summer weather for the festival this year. Beautiful clear blue skies and mid twenties – that’s weather perfection. We rocked up right on time at 11.ooam and were welcomed by a growing crowd waiting to get in. People love a Beer Festival it seems. Lucky for us the organisers had it all in hand and the line moved quickly, meaning we didn’t have to wait that long, which is always a good things when you’re there with kids.
As soon as we got in we headed straight off to the kids area. And here is a very valuable festival tip for all parents, if there is face painting on the agenda get the kids there asap, otherwise you might find yourself at the wrong end of a very long wait. (Past experience taught us this one the hard way.) On this occasion my plan worked perfectly – and we had the first three painted faces in the house! Love it when my plans pay off.
The guys from Ballarat Breeze – Play & Parties had also set up some easy and clean craft activities - which are always a winner with girls. Add some adorable yellow balloons and the smiles were getting bigger by the minute. The petting zoo was a huge hit too, along with the jumping castle and the train rides. As you’d know yourself happy kids makes for happy festival goers. Once the kids start to get bored you know your time is limited. Thanks Ballarat Beer Festival for getting that part of the day so right – made all the difference.
But the Beer Festival wasn’t all about the kids – much to their surprise! The adult population had actually come to sample fine brewery, taste gourmet food and listen to fabulous music. This side of the festival didn’t disappointing either. When I finally got to untangle myself from the kids and venture over to the far side of the oval the atmosphere was jumping. Music was flowing, along with the beer samples, and life had that laid back feel you would expect from an Aussie country festival. Whether it was the people sitting on hay bales and picnic rugs listening to classic Aussie music or those keen to sample all the wares on offer, everyone was having a good time.
One of the highlight for me was checking out some of the local Ballarat Brewers and growers. O’Brien Beer from Rebellion Brewers produces a fully gluten-free range of ales – now that is fabulous news for my gluten intolerant friends. Blue Pyrenees are just up the road at Avoca and have a wonderful looking range of wines that really caught my eye! Wightwicks are a local Ballarat grower who educated me about the fact that Ballarat wines are particularly good due to the cooler growing season allows the grapes to stay on the vine longer. Red Duck Beer is another that brews locally in Ballarat and tells me they produce a healthy chemical free ale that tastes amazing. Now, I won’t tell you lies here, I’m not a huge beer fan and am completely unqualified to talk about how good they are – so I wont. A glass of wine is far more my style! But I am impressed by the quality and care that goes into creating these boutique beers – it’s a labour of love type of thing for sure.
Thanks to Jedo, who will help you find heaps more fabulous events across Australia, and the Ballarat Beer Festival for inviting me to review this event. Job well done guys – it was an awesome family day out.