Annual Ballarat fireworks display to shift to New Year’s Eve

Ballarat’s annual summer fireworks display will be shifted to New Year’s Eve in 2024.

At an ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday night, Ballarat City Councillors resolved to shift the fireworks to 31 December.

The annual fireworks have been aligned with the Summer Sundays free music event and held in mid-January since 2021.

In an officer’s report tabled at this week’s meeting it was noted that alternative options, including a drone show or a sound and light show, have been explored.

A drone show was estimated to cost between $250,000-$290,000 and would still be subject to wind conditions. Analysis showed that wind conditions on three out of the last four fireworks events would have resulted in the cancellation of a drone show.

A sound and light show was also estimated to cost about $250,000 and would not be as widely accessible to the public as it would require spectators to sit closer to the show.

The fireworks display budget was $36,200 for the most recent event.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said recent feedback had suggested the alignment with Summer Sundays hadn’t resonated with the community.

“This free event for our community is about offering them the opportunity to come together in a family-friendly environment,” he said.

“There are a significant number of people that are in Ballarat during New Years Eve that would like an event to help celebrate, so we’re expecting that this chance of date will be well supported.”

The report also considered factors including: wildlife impact, potential anti-social behaviour, tourism visitation and expenditure on various dates, and previous public engagement.

It also followed public engagement in 2021 that showed a clear majority of respondents were in favour of retaining the fireworks display in some form and that the summer period was the most popular option.

The exact timing of the fireworks display on New Years Eve has not yet been decided.

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