‘They loved that ice rink’: Bathurst Winter Festival opens with a bang | Photos

IT was cold, it was windy, and it was wet, but that wasn’t enough to stop a lot of people from enjoying Ignite the Night on Saturday.

The event was the first major night of the Bathurst Winter Festival, bringing food, entertainment and amazing illuminations together for hours of family-friendly fun. 

Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke said the weather did turn some away, but the event was still a huge success.

“It did have an impact on the crowd, but there was still a lot of people,” he said.

“If the weather was fine it probably would have been a record crowd.” 

As expected, the winter playground was the major attraction for festival-goers, who could ice skate, ride the ferris wheel and walk through the mirror maze.

“They loved that ice rink. It was packed; hour after hour that skate rink was full,” Cr Bourke said.

He added that the ferris wheel, despite the cold, was still very popular. He said at one point he saw “about 60 people” lined up. 

He also felt people enjoyed the variety of food and beverage vendors, all from the region, that where there. 

During the time he was there, Cr Bourke only received positive feedback about Ignite the Night, especially from people who lived outside of Bathurst.

“As the deputy mayor, I really enjoyed it there and I spent about three hours walking around there talking to people to see what they thought and I didn’t get any negativity at all,” he said. 

With one major night ticked off the list, council will shift its focus to Brew and Bite next Saturday. 

Cr Bourke expects the crowds will be bigger than they were at Ignite the Night. 

“People will be going away from [Saturday] night saying how good it was, and if there is any sign of improvement in the weather, I think they’ll want to go to the last big night of it,” he said. 

Over the next week, people can continue to use the Russell Street attractions. They will be open between 9am and 9pm daily, while illuminations will be projected onto buildings from dusk to 10pm.