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Case Studies Lake Woorabinda Festival | Cultural Tourism Accelerator Case Study (2023)

The inaugural Lake Woorabinda Festival, held March 2023, consisted of artisan markets showcasing local artists and creators. Activities included floating lantern making workshops, which were decorated by the community with the theme "The Story of You!". The lanterns were then floated on the lake at dusk. During the afternoon a children's entertainer, Dr Nincompoop performed. The Hillston Central School Primary Choir also performed 3 songs, one of which was sung in Wiradjuri. Locally sourced and prepared food was available throughout the day including Indian curries, an Asian dumpling-making demonstration, and a BBQ. The day concluded with a firework display over the lake.

The event attracted up to 250 attendees, with more than 20% coming from outside the project’s postcode. An online survey was distributed with 96 respondents. More than 90 respondents strongly agreed that the event helped them to learn new things about the community, and 91 would recommend the event to others. The Hillston Caravan Park recorded the following feedback from guests:

Fireworks were terrific; The entertainment was the best we have seen or heard; Are you making this event a yearly thing, if so we will be back; For such a small town, it was an amazing evening; Loved the kids lanterns, what a great idea!

The festival built consumer confidence through engagement with local businesses, local community groups and local artists by including them in the day. Showcasing these local elements to visitors broadened their knowledge of the area. The inclusion of local food businesses, local artisans and the partnerships with accommodation providers also allowed each participant to widen their customer base, giving local providers a wider reach in the region.

This project was funded by a Cultural Tourism Generator grant, an extension of the Cultural Tourism Accelerator Program. The Cultural Tourism Accelerator Program was an Australian Government initiative delivered through the Regional Arts Fund to help strengthen local visitor economies. The Program sought to increase tourism visitation in regional, rural, and remote communities across Australia, by providing financial support for the promotion of arts and cultural activities.

Lake Floating
Floating of the Lanterns on Lake Woorabinda. Photo by Alison Jardine