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Lakes Entrance will come alive this winter with the inaugural East Gippsland Winter Festival.

Local MP Darren Chester secured a $35,745 grant to support the festival and highlight event Lakes Lights.

“The East Gippsland Winter Festival will celebrate our region and showcase the best of local art, food, culture and nature,” Mr Chester said.

“Different events such as dinners, performances, tours and workshops will take place throughout the region from June 19 to July 11, 2021 over the Winter Solstice.

“This will showcase our region as not just a summer destination but a place to enjoy throughout the year.

“The feature event Lakes Lights will feature a jetty-based, lakeside installation and a community-led parade of light.

“This will pay respects to the devastation of last summer’s bushfires and the local wildlife and vegetation that was lost.”

East Gippsland Winter Festival Founder Adam Bloem said the festival would feature a program of events and art installations right throughout the region, from Bairnsdale to Omeo to Mallacoota over three weeks.

“The Festival is designed to inspire visitors to explore East Gippsland and encourages collaboration between artists, community groups, schools, Business & Tourism Associations, venues and local businesses,” Mr Bloem said.

“Following three years of drought and then the devastating bushfires, our main goal was to increase visitation during winter to provide a much-needed economic boost and resilience.

“During our planning and research, we discovered there is a real need and desire for community connection and collaboration which we hope will also build social resilience.

“In the festival lead up we will be running lantern making workshops for schools, community groups and individuals.

Participants will then be able to bring their lanterns along to the Lakes Lights event on Saturday June 26 and take part in a parade along the Esplanade in Lakes Entrance.

“We are grateful to the Federal Government for the support and we hope to establish the Winter Festival as a signature event for East Gippsland to attract thousands of visitors for many years to come.”

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