From floats to fishing, art to craft, and even a ten-day festival coming up, the little town in Victoria is getting ready to show off this Autumn
Bright conjures up all sorts of childhood images for me. I remember it as a place of fun and mischief. A place I could explore, as a child, with my like-minded cousins, who lived up that way, without the curfews I had back in Melbourne.
Bright with its population of less than 3,000 residents these days, relies heavily on tourism. It’s a town with history, beauty and much more. It’s a place that hasn’t succumbed to becoming a typical tourist place, but offers visitors a unique country village experience.
First explored in 1824, by the explorers Hume and Hovell, during the Gold Rush of Victoria, it was inundated with prospectors and the town of Bright grew quickly. Claims were staked and some made it rich and others left disillusioned, abandoning their claims. Chinese miners moved in leaving their mark on the area. You’ll see many references to the Chinese and many Australian Chinese are still in the local area.
Bright is located northeast of Victoria with easy access to the ski resorts of Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain and Mt Buffalo National Park. By car it will take a few hours to get there from Melbourne, but exploring all the wonderful places along the way can break up the drive.
Once there—there’s an endless list of activities for the whole family. Hiking, animal farm, wineries, tastings, parks, bbqs, cafes, restaurants, art gallery, chocolate factory, fishing at a pond you always catch fish in, a fantastic maze and the list goes on.
Autumn is a beautiful season in Victoria, but Bright with its grand old trees turns the season into a storybook of colour. The autumn leaves blanket the ground in rich autumn tones, and I recall spending hours collecting these leaves marvelling at the individuality of shape and colour. They were always a favourite for my scrapbook. Tourists make their way to Bright to capture this beauty and the surrounding bushland, mountains and waterways on film, as well as have a little fun.
Each year the community gets together and takes on the challenge of running and co-ordinating the 10-day Bright Autumn Festival. Events run throughout the festival showcasing what the area offers scenically and in the way of seasonal produce.
Every day over the 10-day period there is an event, and these events even run through into the evening, with a brass band concert and other activities.
Remember the days when mum or dad would read you a story in bed. Well Rhonda Tallnash, an amazing Bush Poet will have you spellbound as she recites a collection of her best works. Sitting around the open fire as she weaves her stories is not only fun but also an opportunity to catch up on some Australian folklore.
Running from 28 April to 7 May, the highlight of the festival is Gala Weekend, with a huge market, music in the streets and a grand parade.
The theme for the 2017 parade is “Living in the 90s” which can cover anything from 1990s, 1890s or even the 1790s.
Floats are a big part of the parade—drawing the surrounding crowds, especially the kids into an already tangible atmosphere of excitement.
Another exciting event of the Autumn Festival is the Nut Festival. In days gone by Heritage apples littered the grass verges and blackberries twined through the fences. Residents and visitors have traditionally gathered this windfall to create jams, pastes, soups, or simply to gorge.
The Wandiligong Nut Festival is an opportunity to join in celebrating the harvest.
This event has grown since its inception in 2001 and as part of the bigger festival is a must for those who love markets, art, music, and food and wine.
For the kids, Bright has a “splash park”, a great ice-creamery and a chocolate factory! I wonder if that’s where the Easter Eggs come from.
There’s a range of accommodation in and around Bright for those wishing to stay for a few days or overnight.
For more information, visit brightautumnfestival.org.au