PLANS to re-establish a Wimmera German Festival are underway, with a redeveloped event proposed for February 2015.
Through music, entertainment and food, the annual event will celebrate the region’s Germanic and Wendish heritage.
Unlike the Dimboola-based Wimmera German Fest, last hosted in 2008, the reinvigorated event will be in Horsham.
A five-year plan suggests Horsham Showground could be a suitable venue.
The inaugural event proposes to run for limited hours on a Saturday afternoon and evening.
But organisers hope future festivals will span a full weekend.
Fundraising will be one of the organisers’ primary aims.
The Wimmera German Festival is the brainchild of the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Horsham branch, in partnership with Wimmera Health Care Group and Horsham Rural City Council.
Proceeds will go to Wimmera Base Hospital’s emergency department.
Health care group spokeswoman Amelia Crafter said organisers hoped the festival would grow into a major tourism event.
Mrs Crafter estimated about 13 people had expressed interest in organising the event.
“It would be great to see 15 to 20,” she said.
She expected more people would want to get involved once they knew what the group was planning.
In its first year, organisers are aiming to re-establish the Wimmera German Festival’s standing in the nation’s events circuit.
They plan to notify the German consulate and invite German expats, descendants and community members to join in the festivities.
They expect the festival’s second year to be about expanding and refining what the event has to offer.
By 2017, the steering committee aims for the festival to be big enough to run for all of Saturday and up to mid-afternoon on Sunday.
There are plans to introduce a full-scale market, and include other nationalities.
“The focus will always stay around the Wimmera’s German heritage, but that’s not to say we can’t celebrate the other cultural groups that have moved into the region since,” Mrs Crafter said.
Horsham Rural City Council tourism and events manager Chris McClure said council had been budgeting for the event for the past three years.
He would not divulge how much had been allocated, because he said it might not all be needed.
He said the council had also promised planning advice and resources.
Mr McClure said up to $5000 of council funds might be needed to market the event in its first year.
He said council hoped the event would draw 2000 people to the region, like the Dimboola-based event had before it.
The Wimmera German Festival’s strategic plan said a clash with Anzac Day affected the Dimboola event.
Mr McClure said a February date for the Wimmera German Festival would ‘all but guarantee’ pleasant weather.
The next steering committee meeting will be on November 7.
Vectis German Night will have its finale on Saturday night.
Spokeswoman Lisa Maroske said the annual event had run since 2009.
“For the moment, it has run its course – but don’t hold us to that,” she said.
She said the event typically sold out each year.
Vectis German Night includes a four-course German meal, German dancers from Melbourne, a German shop and an oom-pah band.