Mildura has a busy calendar of arts, gourmet, sporting and musical events. Find out about some annual events you can't afford to miss:
The Hattah Desert Race is the largest national junior and senior motorbike desert race in Australia, arguably tougher than the Finke Desert Race. Hattah has the reputation as being the most challenging off road race in the country. The event attracts over 500 riders and teams and showcases the talents of the country's best enduro riders, together with offering the only junior desert race in Australia. The race weekend starts with a display of all bikes and riders in the Mildura CBD on Friday night. The night includes live entertainment, displays, merchandise stands, big screen vision, rider interviews and feasting in fine restaurants. Competition runs for two days running across a specifically marked 38km course that includes high speed straights, tight Mallee scrub sections and lots of sandhills and woops. Spectators can view the action from any part of the track including the major pit area.
Location: Langtree Ave (Friday) & Boonoonar Rd, Colignan (Saturday)
The Mildura Writers' Festival is an established event with a 19 year history attracting high profile international and Australian writers to this region. The festival incorporates the Philip Hodgins memorial award for poetry, a University Lecture Series and writing workshops for secondary school students.
Location: Various venues
The Merbein Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph incorporating the National Dried Bake-off. The event has as its focal point, a baking competition - the iconic vanilla slice, sultana muffin, sunmuscat slice or plum pudding. It is open to all professional bakers, apprentices, amateurs and students Australia wide. A display tent enables the public to view all baking competition entries. The all day culinary event will also feature foodie, beverage and produce stalls, a High Tea and a variety of foods to eat. The day will also have great entertainment for the whole family. The Sunraysia Farmers Market will be there along with this year's celebrity chef Adriano Zumbo.
Location: Commercial Street
22 & 24 August
The Mildura Racing Club's Cup Carnival Weekend is a great annual event for both visitors and locals. The two day horse racing program creates a fun and friendly atmosphere at the Mildura Racecourse suitable to all people. Along with live horse racing action there is live entertainment and numerous hospitality packages, free kids activities, fashiosn on the field and much more. Country Racing 'It's a Great Day Out'.
Location: Mildura Racecourse, Racecourse Road (off Cowra Avenue)
27 September - 7 October
When Australia country music fans talk about the festival 'biggies' the Mildura Country Music Festival rates a mention alongside Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Gympie Muster as one of the big three. The major difference between the other two and the 27th annual Mildura Country Music Festival is Australia's biggest showcase of Independent entertainers. What that means is a seemingly unending cast of highly talented professional country music artists who aren't signed to major record label deals. The Independent factor gives Mildura a different complexion, and it's a successful formula that has worked admirably over the past 25 years. In 2013, more than 100 individual artists and groups will enterain over the 10-day period and the roster comprises many award winners including Golden Guitar finalsists and Star Maker winners.
Location: Various venues
Merbein Community Rodeo
Riders risk life and limb in the ring for a chance to win big dollars. Last year saw 66 cowboys and cowgirls competiting for the prize money. And this year it is anticipated to have as many high quality cowboys and cowgirls in the competition. They compete in the barrel bull and bronco rides. This rough stock rodeo will include bull riding, saddle bronc and junior steer ride and barrel racing for both senior and junior females. Come and see the action with the horses, the bulls, the cowboys and cowgirls and the funny clown in the ring.
Location: Kenny Park, Box Street
Sunraysia's greatest annual event and Victoria's third largest Show after Melbourne and Geelong is here! Whether you're a petrol head, a fan of the circus, an animal lover or a thrill seeker the Show has it all. You can see the dog show, the flowers and floral art, photography and art displays, pickles, preserves, cakes and all the other traditional competitions and of course the best fireworks in town. The Mildura Show is bound to bring screams and laughter to your ears, a smile to your face, good food to your belly and fill your hands with Show bags.
Location: Mildura Showgrounds, 12th Street
The Goanna Run is a Rod Run and Kustom Kulture Festival. It embraces hot rods and custom type vehicles as well as the lifestyle aspects associated with this kulture, including fashion, hair and make-up, art, music, dance and automotive styling. On Saturday night Mildura City restaurants and traders are joining in and styling up providing a unique experience for both the visitors and the locals. On the Sunday at the Gateway Tavern you can take a leisurely stroll and get up and close to the hot rods and chat to the owners.
Location: Langtree Avenuen (Feast St Saturday night) & Gateway Tavern, 15th Street (Sunday afternoon)
Red Hot Jazz
Red Hot Jazz is a community event providing jazz, quality gourmet food and delicious local wines to enjoy whilst relaxing on the manicured lawns at Red Cliffs Secondary College. The evening will feature both traditional and mainstream jazz bands. The College provides a range of gourmet food sourced from local suppliers - think delicious homemade dips, ploughman platters, fresh healthy salads to accompany a mixed grill or lasagne and some divine desserts. Red, white or sparkling wines will be available.
Location: Red Cliffs Secondary College, Fitzroy Avenue
31 October-4 November
The Mildura Jazz, Food and Wine Festival is a well established event that has been attracting local and visitors to Mildura over the past 30 years. The Festival presents four days of round the clock jazz entertainment in popular clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, art galleries as well as street side and riverside venues. The Festival combines Traditional Jazz and Swing and more contemporary and quirky sounds and caters to hardcore jazz enthusiasts and music lovers.
Location: Various venues
This is Mildura's social event of the year! There's live horse racing action and the big screen to watch the 'race that stops the nation'. The Fashion-on-the-Fields and free entertainment for the kids.
Location: Mildura Racecourse, Racecourse Road (off Cowra Avenue).
In 1999 Stefano de Pieri and Bruce Chalmers along with Dr. Rod Bonfiglioli, initiated the Sangiovese Awards and continued with the Australian Italian Wine Show in 2000. Following the success of these shows, the first Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show was held in Mildura in November 2001 with inaugural Chief of Judges, Tim White. The initial concept has evolved to include all alternative wine varieties (which are usually marginalised at mainstream shows) and now attracts over 500 entries from throughout Australia and New Zealand. The show aims to provide an alternative to the mainstream wine shows, a dedicated forum for alternative or emerging wine varieties and to encourage alternative, more cutting edge judging procedures.
Willowfest is an annual cricket carnival attracting participants to Sunraysia for the prestigious and entertaining week of cricket. The carnival attracts teams and players and visitors from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The turf wickets that the carnival is played on, are regareded as some of the best in Australia and many participants come for this experience. The competition is graded so that all teams have a chance of winning in their section and the associated prize money. The round robin competitions will consist of three 50 over matches and two Twenty20’s on day two of the competition for the men, while the ladies will play in two 40 over matches as well as Twenty20 matches. Spectators are encourged to compete for the biggest 'whack'.