BATHURST Regional Council has cause to celebrate after the response to one of its signature events exceeded expectations.
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The Bathurst Winter Festival wraps up on Sunday after two weeks and mayor Robert Taylor said it had achieved some of the best visitation numbers to date.
For him, it was his first festival as the mayor of Bathurst, and the event did not disappoint.
"It has been fantastic," he said.
While he didn't know the final figures, he said that more than 20,000 ice skating tickets were sold.
The winter playground's other attractions, the ferris wheel and carousel, also sold in excess of 10,000 tickets each.
The opening weekend of the winter festival was hit by some wet weather, and flooding in parts of Sydney prevented some people from attending, but Cr Taylor said the event still drew enormous crowds of the two weeks despite these setbacks.
"We had about 52 or 53 per cent [of visitors] from outside of our postcode," he added.
Brew & Bite, the food-centric event on the festival calendar, was held over two days during the second weekend.
Cr Taylor said the tweaks to the footprint of the festival was one of the things that made those nights, and the festival as a whole, such a success.
Food vans were lined up along Keppel Street and the wine and spirits producers were opposite in Machattie Park, with the extra space making it easier for everyone to do business.
"The wine stalls all sold out. They're over the moon. They just didn't expect the crowd to be there," Cr Taylor said.
The Bathurst Winter Festival has continued to grow since its inception in 2015 for the city's bicentenary year, and it is hoped that upward trend continues as more people in the state and across the country become aware of the annual event.
"A previous mayor, Gary Rush, had the foresight to have a winter festival and I think the first reaction was, 'Oh, you're joking', but the way that the events team has built on it since 2015 is just fabulous," Cr Taylor said.
"Every year it just gets bigger and better and is attracting more people into our CBD.
"... We'd look at probably expanding the footprint. It's like anything, when you've got an event that's becoming successful, you like to improve it in every way you can in small increments every year. That's what the events team is looking at.
"The footprint's there, the event is becoming a huge success for our city and I think if they work on it slowly and build it up each year it will just grow."
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