Black is back in Ballan

Sarah Peckham and Carmel Hunter are part of Black Nite Black Lite in Ballan Pic Marco De Luca

Ballan’s Black Nite Black Lite festival began with a few women toiling away in a broom closet.

Now thousands of visitors are expected to flock to this year’s edition of the winter solstice celebration, in which artists, schools and community groups transform 30 shop windows with colourful, fluorescent paint lit up with black UV lights.

The week-long free and town-wide celebration, which will run from June 17, will include light shows, food and entertainment along Inglis Street, musical art installations and an interactive show on opening night.

Organiser Sarah Peckham said workshops, run by Wombat Regional Arts Network, started last week to help get the town dressed up for the festivities.

She said the festival’s genesis came from a workshop that experimented with an old can of glow-in-the-dark paint in a broom closet.

“I bought a black lite and we took it into a store room, along with some high-visibility fluro paint that I’d bought, we shut the door and everything just looked spectacular under black light,” she said.

“Tennis balls in the store room and our white paper – everything was jumping out at us.”

She said organisers expected about 200 visitors last year – and drew more than 1000.

Ms Peckham said the festival involved the whole town – from its youngest to its oldest members.

“A whole lot of people have put together a lot of unbelievably wonderful things for visitors to enjoy,” she said. “It’s just one of those amazing, magic things.”