Paul West

We welcome a new guest to this year’s Begonia Festival – Paul West, former host of the TV series A River Cottage Australia, who could since be seen on Gardening Australia, Back Roads and Catalyst.

Paul West is a passionate advocate of real food, community, regional living and sustainable agriculture and has quickly become the poster boy for sustainable farming and organic food.


The star of dirtgirlworld and Get Grubby TV is a gumboot wearing, planet loving rockstar who loves to sing and dance almost as much as she loves getting grubby.

Join dirtgirl for a sing-a-long stage performance on Saturday, get up close and personal during the in-conversations followed by meet &greets on Sunday and get grubby with Costa the Gnome and dirtgirl during the Get Grubby Bucket Workshop on Monday.

Costa Georgiadis (Monday only!)

Popular television personality Costa Georgiadis is returning to the 2019 festival for one day only, don’t miss Costa on Monday.

Join Costa live on the Begonia Stage with Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group for a chat about his all-consuming passion for plants and people. Make sure to take the kids to see Costa the Gnome and his pal dirtgirl getting grubby at the Get Grubby Bucket Workshop.

Central Highlands Water – Help save our turtle!

Over 5 metres long, our turtle’s shell will be filled with single-use plastic bottles – a visual representation of the burden felt by the environment due to plastic waste.

We encourage everyone to come down and place a single-use plastic bottle into our turtle’s shell – making the pledge to reduce plastic bottle waste by using refillable bottles instead.

After the festival, our giant turtle will be transformed into play equipment and placed in one of our public spaces – a constant reminder of the importance of caring for our environmental future.

Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group – Litter Super Heroes

Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group’s Litter Super Heroes will come alive and hit the ground running for this year’s Begonia Festival. Combining an array of litter super powers along with some song and dance the Litter Super Heroes will both entertain and engage the audience while helping to reduce littering and improve the event recycling. The Litter Super Heroes will appear on the Begonia stage and pop up around the festival to help you get the right thing into the right bin.

Pop over to the Grampians Central West’s Little Green Wagon to hear about sustainability and waste issues through the ‘Plastic not so Fantastic’ campaign to reduce our reliance on single use plastic.

Circus Drop Zone with Comedy Café

A new highlight at this year’s festival will be the Circus Drop Zone with associated Comedy Café.

With seating for 90 and standing room for triple that, the emphasis of the café is on comedy, variety, circus and music.

The Circus Drop Zone is an interactive activity for visitors, both children and adults, to participate and learn new skills. Admire performances on a 6-metre-high trapeze rig showcasing the strength and courage of the performers and try your own skills at juggling, unicycling, hula-hoop and more.

Image credit – Peter Izzard

Obstacle Course

Kids aged 5 to 12 will have a ball tackling the obstacle course as they weave in and out, over and through a range of challenges.

This interactive activity will feature 12 fun obstacles, including a tyre run, caterpillar, cargo net crawl, rope pull, even a spider web and a flying fox.

Our ninja trainers will help you master them all!

Ariel Songs

The fairy character Ariel sings up the glories of nature in Shakespeare’s famous play, The Tempest. Join us in the gardens to hear Ballarat Arts Academy’s own Word of Mouth choir perform Ariel’s Songs and other original works arranged by Federation University’s Director of the Arts Academy, composer Richard Chew. This glorious musical performance is supported by a prize-winning event space design by Zongjing Yu and Libin Wang, recent graduates of the Masters of Landscape program at the University of Melbourne. The work of the students and Associate Professor Richard Chew is supported by Dr Tanja Beer, Design Mentor (University of Melbourne), Dr Angela Campbell, Dramaturg (Federation University), Sharon Turley, Community Liaison / Production Manager. Special thanks to Place Agency, Myer Foundation, City of Ballarat and the Friends of the Botanical Gardens for their support of this project.

Performances: 11am and 2pm daily (Monday 2pm only!)

Stems Greenery Wall

Don’t forget to take a floral keepsake selfie with family and friends in front of the Stems Greenery Photo Wall next to the Begonia Stage.

This photo wall is also our meet & greet point for the ‘Green Carpet’ photo opportunities with dirtgirl over the weekend.

Floral Tram

The Ballarat Tramway Museum is bringing back a floral tram! 80 years since the last floral trams took to the rails in Ballarat in 1938 and 1939. This nod to the past is just one of a range of initiatives shining the spotlight on sustainability at this year’s festival, as the new floral tram is decorated with hundreds of flowers from recycled plastic.

Make sure to catch a ride on this special floral tram over the long weekend.

PowerFM Begonia Parade

More than 40 community groups, schools and businesses will come together to celebrate Ballarat’s diversity and spirit as part of the PowerFM Begonia Parade.

Each year more than 10,000 people watch the ever-popular Begonia Parade – a highlight of the Ballarat Begonia Festival.

The parade begins at 11am on Monday 11 March and will travel along Wendouree Parade between the South Gardens and North Gardens.

Please note: Wendouree Parade will be closed from Carlton Street to St Aidan’s Drive between 6.30am to 1pm. No parking available, we recommend parking at Victoria Park and catching our free festival shuttle.