For 137 years, the Stawell Gift has been renowned as the world's most prestigious professional footrace.
The Gift's reputation has cemented the Easter period as Stawell's peak tourism and trading time, attracting more than 10,000 people to the town in 2017 alone.
This influx of visitors, in turn, delivers significant economic benefits for the Northern Grampians Shire community, with data generated from last year's Easter period illustrating combined spending in excess of $2 million.
It is world class events such as the Gift, the Easter Street Party and the Stawell Gold Cup, combined with the natural beauty in which our region abounds, that has seen our tourist economy evolve into Victoria's third fastest growing tourist economy.
Data released recently by the state government shows that both day trips and overnight visits to the Grampians region continue to surge, with an increase of 24 per cent in total visitor numbers during the 2016/17 financial year.
This increase is due in part to our world-class events, and our community's hard work to develop the standard of these events to such a high level.
Other events, such as the recent Babylon Festival, the Grampians Music Festival and the upcoming Grampians Grape Escape are further helping to develop the Northern Grampians Shire's reputation as the events capital of the Wimmera region.
We as a community need to ensure that we continue to support and nurture these fantastic events across our region in order to reap the benefits.
Our second round of EngagiNG shopfront sessions is almost complete, with just the St Arnaud session set to be the final workshop in the series.
These sessions of community consultation, centred around council's 2018/19 budget process, have been a vital engagement tool for council and staff to gain a better understanding of what the community's needs are.
For those who have been unable to make it to our face-to-face sessions, our online budget simulator is still up and running.
This can be easily accessed via council's website.
Tony Driscoll is mayor of Northern Grampians Shire Council.