As the warmer weather arrives, the Hunter’s events calendar is brimming with excitement.
A bumper concert season awaits, and events like the Australian Postie Bike Grand Prix and the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular are just around the corner.
The Hunter Valley is best known for its wine – and rightly so.
The formal alliance between Cessnock and Singleton councils and the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association aims to increase tourism to the region and double overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.
Along with wine, fine dining, golf and world-class concerts have become drawcards in more recent years.
Family events such as Hunter Valley Gardens’ Snow Time in the Garden and Christmas Lights Spectacular continue to draw record crowds, year after year.
If tourism is the cornerstone of the local economy, diversity is the key to maintaining its success.
It was announced on Tuesday that Newcastle will host a round of the V8 Supercars for the next five years, and that a dedicated cruise ship terminal will be built in the city.
The greater Hunter Region is positioned to take advantage of the extra visitors these events will bring.
On a local level, Cessnock will host its third annual Australian Postie Bike Grand Prix on the last Sunday of October.
The event has drawn an estimated 8000 people to the Cessnock CBD each year.
Like Kurri Kurri’s Nostalgia Festival, which has been running for 13 years and now draws 40,000 visitors to town, the postie bike race is a community event run by volunteers. It’s a prime example of the have-a-go spirit – a great idea, with a passionate, driven committee and lots of hard work.
The Cessnock Stomp Festival (pictured) is another local festival that turned out to be a great success – drawing about 11,000 people to Vincent Street in April.
New events to the Hunter Valley this year include the Moon Festival (a celebration of Chinese culture) and Pokolbin Pride – the region’s first LGBTI festival (to be held in October).
Another new event, Slideapalooza, has already attracted the interest of about 40,000 people on Facebook.
There are plenty of great minds in the region with ideas for visitor growth. Let’s hope they get the support they need to bring these ideas to fruition.
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