It was a taste of things to come as Ballarat Mayor, Cr Ben Taylor joined former MasterChef contestants and community partners for the launch of the 2020 Ballarat Begonia Festival on Friday.

With a program as big and bold as the Begonias growing in the nursery, the Mayor unveiled some of the many highlights of the three- day long-weekend Begonia Festival (March 7-9).

Special guests, 2019 Masterchef contestants, Tim Bone and Anushka Zargaryan revealed what they will be cooking up for the festival (think Middle Eastern and European flavours and cooking up an Autumn Feast).

Cr Taylor said Ballarat’s largest and oldest festival continued to draw huge crowds because of its ability to diversify and cater to all tastes and age groups, with a focus on free, family entertainment.

“This festival attracts everyone from hard core gardeners, to people seeking ideas for their own home, as well as those who simply enjoy the relaxing surrounds listening to free music and enjoying local food and wine,” he said.

The Mayor also expressed his gratitude for the continued support of the festival’s community partners who help spread important environmental and sustainability messages to a captive audience. Central Highlands Water has enjoyed a successful 20-year partnership with the Ballarat Begonia Festival.

“We are delighted to be involved and this year we share our innovative approach – Smart, Safe and Sustainable in delivering quality water to Ballarat and our wider communities,” Jacqueline O’Neill, General Manager of Customer and Community said.

“For the launch of the 2020 Ballarat Begonia Festival, we showcase Women in Water and three key areas of the organisation: our NATA accredited laboratory, environmental management, as well as technology and engineering,”

CHW’s popular ‘Choose Tap’ stainless steel drink bottles will be available at the Festival in a bright new colour range with proceeds to local organisation WRISC- ‘Victims of Family Violence’.

Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group’s focus at this year’s festival is ‘Keeping it Local’ and will be empowering visitors to do what they can at home.

Cr Taylor also praised the efforts of Council’s Parks and Gardens team who ensure the Begonia display and all the surrounding garden beds are in full glorious bloom.

The Ballarat Begonia Festival is a great example of the City’s Events, Creative City and Live Music strategies in action.

2020 marks the 68th Ballarat Begonia Festival and the 163rd anniversary of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.



The 2020 Ballarat Begonia Festival’s long weekend program is packed with kid-friendly activities. Garden design inspiration, culinary delights and a host of entertainment in the relaxing surrounds of the beautiful, autumn blooming Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Expect to see plenty of celebrities and make sure to have your camera at the ready because you’ll have a chance to meet them all in the flesh between 7 and 9 March.

For those who love a good feed, you’re not going to want to miss seeing MasterChef favourites Poh Ling YeowAnushka Zargaryan and Ballarat local Tim Bone work their magic in an open-air kitchen.

Let your adventurous little ones roam the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in search of ABC Kids favourite – Bluey & Bingo, the Blue Heelers who loves to turn everyday family life into extraordinary adventures.

Dirtgirl, Costa Georgiadis and Sophie Thomson of Gardening Australia will also be on-hand with their gardening tips and tricks for 2020.

  • Listen to live music across three stages
  • Check out Australia’s largest Begonia display in the conservatory
  • Delight in discovering dishes from around the world at the 20+ food trucks
  • Quench your thirst in the Begonia Bar with local beers from Red Duck Brewery and Cubby Haus Brewing, wines from Wightwick and gin from Kilderkin Distillery
  • Relax with pizza and wine in the Begonia Courtyard
  • Watch your kids get creative at the Pot-A-Plant activity
  • Take a seat while the kids build sandcastles in the Super Sandpit
  • Let your kids roam free on the obstacle course or during the kids’ CrossFit classes
  • Purchase a plant or two at the Gardener’s and Creative Designer’s Markets
  • Check out Tiny Towns – a selection of adorable cubby play spaces including a fire station and milk bar. Inspiring builders will also have the chance to build their own tree house to take home.
  • Tiny tots will be entertained over the three days with appearances by ABC Kids’ characters, Bluey and Bingo
  • Homeowners are also sure to get inspiration for their own backyards from three very different garden design displays
  • For those who enjoy a little magic, be sure to watch out for magician Barry Govan.

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