Did someone say “grown-up” events? Don’t let the kids have all the fun – there’s a brilliant calendar of events, festivals and celebrations in Geelong and the Bellarine region where you don’t have to order from the kids’ menu or get your face painted to have an unforgettable time. Book a sitter (if you must) and head out for a culture fix or a winery session. Tap into the refined experience of a whisky tasting. Hear your literary heartthrob wax lyrical or a tech trailblazer talk digital. Here’s a round-up to get you started.
The Archy and more at Geelong Gallery
The Archibald Prize, Australia’s favourite art award is coming to town! Book your tickets (28th October - 10th December) because Geelong Gallery is the exclusive venue for the award and it’s going to be epic. Can’t wait? Whet your arty appetite with a Geelong Gallery exhibition ahead of the big one. Drop in and check out the newly furbished gallery foyer and dive into Fred Williams in The You Yangs, The You Yangs – Mark Dober or the 2017 Geelong Acquisitive Art Prize. Or soak up the satire of the Archibald alternative: the Bald Archy Prize, hanging (in all it’s humour) at the National Wool Museum from 14th October.
Giddy-up for Melbourne Cup Day
Don’t know your fillies from your photo finish? Don’t fret. You don’t need to be trackside to revel in all the fun and fanfare of the race that stops a nation. Beat the big city crowds and snaffle some bargains at Central Geelong Shopping Festival Sidewalk Sale where more than 200 businesses will be trading on the street and/or flaunting fab in-store specials. Come for the shopping bonanza, linger for lunch, then shop some more. Book a spot, dress to impress and head to Jack Rabbit or Oakdene on the Bellarine for celebrations featuring award-winning wines, delicious fare, sweeps, prizes and big-screen action.
Gallop into gourmet: prosecco, whisky and oysters
Line-up a triple treat of gourmet experiences. Join Prosecco Queen Melissa Bauer at Annie’s Provedore for a Prosecco Masterclass featuring a 4-course dinner and an impressive line-up of Italian vino. Get among the Oyster Madness at Mr Grubb – freshly shucked oysters at $1 each is too good to miss (27th - 29th September). Join Queenscliff Brewhouse for a Japanese Whisky Experience and sip on a rarer-than-hen’s-teeth Yamazaki 18-year-old plus Hakushu and Hibiki expressions.
Belly-laughs + spine-chilling spooky-ness
Laugh till it hurts – head to The Sphinx for Straight Outta Compo (5th October), a hilarious live show that’s part stand-up, part sketch, part music and part surprise featuring some of Aussie’s top funnymen. Do you have what it takes to survive a Haunted Halloween Zombie Fright Night at Geelong Gaol? Get your ghoul on with a 45-minute after-bedtime show then extend it out with a midnight paranormal investigation (28th October). Boo! Reminisce the mayhem and outlandish comedy of a TV favourite with immersive Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience in the opulence of Vue Grand Dining Room (17th November & 8th December).
Rub shoulders with your favourite big names
The Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival 2017 brings an amazing literati lineup to the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre (17th - 19th November), including Peter Carey, John Safran, Tracey Spicer, Tim Flannery and John Marsden among a diverse cohort of around 80. And with Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak headlining Pivot Summit at Federal Mills Park on 8th December, there’s no better place to be for emerging tech talk and game-changing dialogue about all things digital, startup and social enterprise.