Huge crowds will attend two major events in Geelong this Australia Day long weekend.
The Festival of Sails and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race are predicted to generate more than $20 million in economic benefit for the region over the four-day period.
The Festival of Sails is expected to attract about 100,000 people over its three-day program.
The historic festival begins on Saturday and concludes on the Australia Day public holiday, which is the busiest day of the year on the Geelong waterfront.
About 100,000 people are also expected to attend or take part in the Cadel Evans Road Race, which will be held in Geelong from Friday to Sunday.
The high-class sailing and cycling events contribute more to the local economy than any other annual event on the Geelong Major Events calendar.
City figures show the Festival of Sails and Cadel Evans Road Race generated an economic benefit of $10.28m and $10m respectively in 2018.
Only the biennial Australian International Airshow, which produced a $22 million benefit when it was last held in 2017, records a higher figure.
The Airshow returns this March.
The Festival of Sails is the largest annual keel boat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, with a rich history dating back to 1844.
The three days of action on the water is complemented by a free public waterfront festival, featuring live music, entertainment, stalls and a dedicated kids’ zone.
Now in its fifth year, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race has become one of the country’s premier cycling events.
The community will join Cadel Evans and local celebrities for the VEGEMITE Family Ride on the waterfront on Friday.
Three courses of varying distances are available for the community to tackle in the Swisse People’s Ride on Saturday.
The Deakin University Elite Women’s Race will be held on Saturday, with the UCI World Tour Elite Men’s Race following on Sunday.
The following quotes can be attributed to Mayor Bruce Harwood:
These two fantastic Australia Day weekend events bring huge numbers of visitors to Geelong and our beautiful waterfront precinct. They allow the community to watch some of the world’s best cyclists and sailors up close, and to participate themselves.
What a unique opportunity – to ride alongside Tour de France winner Cadel Evans around a course featuring so much beautiful natural scenery. There are few experiences like it anywhere in the world.
I encourage everyone to get involved, whether that’s by riding, heading along to the Shorefront Festival, or finding a great spot on Challambra Crescent in Highton or along the waterfront to take in the elite cycling action.
The following quotes can be attributed to Cr Ron Nelson, Chair, Tourism and Events portfolio:
There’ll be no better place to be than Geelong over the Australia Day long weekend, with these two major events creating a huge buzz around the town.
Both events inject millions into our local economy, generating important business for our local restaurants and bars, hotels and traders.
With the two elite cycling races being broadcast free to air on the Seven Network, our picturesque region will also gain massive exposure across the country.
The traditional Family Fun Day at Rippleside will also offer plenty of free activities and fun for kids.