Bathurst once again celebrated winter during the two weeks of the school holidays in the middle of July. This is the fifth time it has been held and it is getting better each year.
The road in front of the Court House was closed for the two weeks and an ice skating rink, Ferris wheel and two storey carousel installed. They are a really popular venue, with around 40,000 tickets sold over the time of the festival. It is a great draw card to the city.
There are two big nights, on the first and second Saturdays, so of course we went along. The first night was remarkably warm, being about 9 degrees C. Not terribly wintry at all.
The first week was rather social for us, as we met up with, and ran into, lots of different friends who had the same idea.
The parks are so pretty with all the lighting.
The two storey carousel is apparently one of only two in the world, the other being beside the Eiffel Tower.
The Ferris wheel is the same one that used to visit Bathurst Show when we were kids. We didn't end up going for a ride, although we have in the last couple of years. It was fun watching it being erected, as it is quite close to where I work, but it was also rather sad seeing all being packed up again until it visits us again next year.
Our first port of call is always to purchase some mulled wine from Renzaglia Wines, who used to be our next door neighbours. You can buy your glass each year, but we enjoy taking along our ones from the original Winter Festival, which celebrated 200 years since the founding of Bathurst. We gave our non drinking mate a sip, as he had never tried it before, and he described it as "like drinking Christmas pudding", which isn't a bad description. It is rather lovely on a cold night and something we look forward to as a special treat at this festival.
The food vendors had a new site this year, as an extra street was closed off. This worked well. We just had a little snack.
Come along for a stroll to see the sights.
There was a mural in Court House Lane of Elton John to celebrate the fact that he will be playing one of his concerts here in January. (Yes, we have tickets and can't wait.)
On the other side of the lane was an illumination, which was an interactive video game operated by your phone. A bit too technical for us, but a lot of people were playing along.
Each year there has been a different theme and a feature has been the illumination of the Court House. This year's theme was "Stellar".
Another annual fun thing is the silent disco on the Court House lawn.
We took some friends along, who hadn't experienced it before, and we had a great time.
By now it was getting late and we thought we had better get something to eat, but there weren't a lot of options at 9pm. One of the local coffee shops was making the best of the festival (good on them) with a tailored menu and were staying open late. We just snuck in before closing. How healthy is this!!
Red velvet cheese cake and blue hot chocolate with fairy floss for Mick.
Hot dog and pink hot chocolate with fairy floss for me. You can see we were in festival mode.
It was a really fun night and we then had another to look forward to.