Strawberry and cherry fest returns

Bacchus Marsh Strawberry and Cherry Festival organiser Felicity Ashman. (Damjan Janevski) 305885_01

After a year off, the much-loved Bacchus Marsh Strawberry and Cherry Festival is set to return in 2024.

The festival was canceled last year due to ballooning costs and logistical difficulties, but organiser Felicity Ashman said things are “progressing smoothly” to be able to hold the event in November this year.

Felicity Ashman has been helping to organise the event since 2015, and ran it in 2022 through her company Urban Markets following the closure of the Bacchus Marsh Tourism Association in 2021.

Ms Ashman said not being able to proceed with the festival last year was incredibly disheartening.

“We invested a lot of time and effort into planning, but unfortunately, various challenges arose that prevented us from moving forward. Attempting to relocate the event to address traffic management concerns and navigating permit meetings were just a couple of the hurdles we faced. Despite our best efforts, the logistical issues proved too difficult to overcome within the limited timeframe. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately, we had to prioritise the safety aspects as well as the overall experience for our community,” she said.

Ms Ashman said there has been logistical changes this year, including meeting with council for permit meetings much earlier, to allow for time to deal with planning challenges.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be able to deliver the festival this year. Our festival is not just an event – it’s a cornerstone of our community, bringing people together in celebration and joy,” she said.

“After the challenges of the past year, being able to bring back this beloved tradition is truly exhilarating. We’re thrilled to once again offer our community a chance to come together, enjoy each other’s company, and create lasting memories.”

Ms Ashman said the Bacchus Marsh Strawberry and Cherry Festival is planned for the 14th to the 17th of November.

“On the 14th, we kick off with carnival-only activities for Local’s Night. The festivities continue on the 15th at the Village Green, featuring entertainment, food, and the carnival. On the 16th and 17th, the excitement spreads to the Street Market, Public Hall market, and various community activities alongside the carnival, entertainment and performances at the Graham Street community stage,” she said.

“Mark your calendars for four days of fun and community spirit.”