Sovereign Hill is celebrating a record-breaking Christmas in July event, transforming a traditionally quiet winter period into a gold rush for the region.
For the outdoor museum, this year’s Christmas in July was one of the largest events ever staged in its 45-year history, and included a Winter Wonderlights projection show, as significant to regional Victoria as White Night is to Melbourne.
Anticipating one of the largest crowds in their history, the Christmas in July school holiday event didn’t disappoint – delivering over 59,000 visitors through the gates, an increase of 41% on last year’s event.
Since the event’s introduction in 2011, patronage has increased by over 275%, making it the most commercially successful event on Sovereign Hill’s calendar.
“In the past, mid-year has often been a challenge for Sovereign Hill, because Ballarat is perceived as too cold to visit. Several years ago, we were at the forefront of creating an event in the off-season to lure crowds to the city, and we’re so thrilled that now, our Christmas in July program, has established itself as one of the key events in Victoria for winter,” says Sovereign Hill CEO, Jeremy Johnson.
“We’re thrilled to deliver a highly innovative event each year that brings enormous economic benefit to the city of Ballarat, and delighted with the response that has seen us welcome visitors from all over regional Victoria and indeed Australia.”
The event saw an increase of visitors from all over Victoria and Australia. From last year, visitors were up by 18% from QLD, 47% from NSW, and 62% from regional Victoria. The Melbourne metropolitan market, which is often one of the hardest markets to attract to regional Victoria, was up by 52%.
Ballarat locals also braved the elements to support the event, with a 36% increase from the previous July school holiday program.
The event’s success comes on the back of the outdoor museum achieving a record 512,751 day visitors for the 14/15 year.