Bumper King’s Birthday weekend kicks goals for Mildura economy

Published on 06 June 2024

Under 13 Girls.jpg

Soccer families, runners and music lovers will converge on Mildura in their thousands and provide the local economy an enormous early winter injection this King’s Birthday long weekend.

In a major boost to the accommodation and hospitality sectors, up to 1400 junior soccer players, along with their support staff and parents, will hit town for a three-day football extravaganza at the Aerodrome Ovals.

And on Sunday, capacity fields will take part in the Mildura Riverfront Marathon, which starts and ends along Hugh King Drive opposite Jaycee Park, while the Matsumura Blues Festival at Powerhouse Place on Saturday and Sunday will add to the carnival atmosphere.

The Country Leagues Football Association Country Championships, which is being hosted by Football Federation Sunraysia (FFS) and supported by Mildura Rural City Council, will feature girls and boys teams, aged from Under 11 through to Under 18 age groups, from regions including Latrobe Valley, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Albury/Wodonga, Gippsland and Warrnambool.

Sunraysia will field a record 11 teams as part of the event, including three girls teams.

FFS General Manager Susan Watts said attracting the event to Mildura was fantastic for not just the local economy, but for junior soccer players in the region.

“Our kids and their families always have such a long distance to travel, so we need to try and provide these sorts of opportunities for them up here,” Ms Watts said.

“We are just so well placed as a community to host an event like this. If you go to other places, their pitches are spread far and wide, but here, everything is in the one spot, it will be a great atmosphere and visitors are so close to town, so it is all very convenient for them.”

FFS will run its usual canteen, while local clubs will also fundraise through catering opportunities, with coffee supplied by two local businesses.

Mildura Councillor Tourism and Events Mark Eckel said the events strategy looked at opportunities to “filling down times” on the calendar.

“It has taken some time to build the reputation that Mildura is the place to be in winter, but as you can see, it certainly is not a down time with the diversity of events we have,” Cr Eckel said.

“These events attract all ages. The soccer not only attracts participants, but their families, and now an event like the Marathon which this region has longed for.”

He said the region was well known for its crisp nights and perfect sunny winter days, providing the perfect backdrop for many of these events.

Mildura Mayor Cr Liam Wood agreed.

“It is an absolute coup to be this busy in the depths of winter,’” Cr Wood said. “For our accommodation to be booked out, for our restaurants and cafes to be full, it all provides a much-needed boost.”

Council is also supporting the Mildura Riverfront Marathon, which will feature events over varying distances, and was sold out weeks ago.

Cr Eckel said this bumper King’s Birthday weekend again showcased Mildura as an events destination.

Mildura recently hosted the Under 14 Victorian Country Basketball Championships and the Victorian Volleyball Championships at the Mildura Sporting Precinct, which attracted thousands of visitors and injected an estimated $1.3 million into the local economy.

Both events are supported through Council’s New Events Funding Program.



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