Wangaratta and the surrounding rural communities offer a year full of festivals, celebrations and events that attract people from across the country and in some cases from around the world. Events such as the annual Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Swap Meet are all centrally located, and across the region there are wine and food events which are hugely popular. Wangaratta also offers an excellent selection of accommodations from which to explore and enjoy some of the many events that are held in nearby communities such as Beechworth, Myrtleford, Bright, Rutherglen and Yarrawonga. Wangaratta is also host to regular markets, youth events, senior citizen events and sporting competitions including Australian Rules Football, netball, squash and swimming.

Paradise Falls is one of those places that is often overlooked by visitors to the King Valley but for those that make the effort they are well rewarded. The short walk from the car park leads you down a series of rocky steps into the ravine below that gets cooler and more welcoming as you approach the falls. Be sure to visit after recent rains as the water flow does dry up in the warmer months There are some very interesting conglomerate rock formations along the path and around the falls. If you are particularly lucky you may even see some of the resident Peregrine Falcons that nest in the cliff tops above the falls. Paradise Falls are a great destination for families but do pack a spare set of clothes as the temptation may be to get a bit wet.

There is a good selection of Wangaratta accommodation available to suit all budgets and needs. Offered within central Wangaratta as well as the surrounding communities travelers will find and excellent variety of motels, hotels, pubs, caravan parks, cottages and guest houses specifically catering for both short and longer stay temporary accommodation. There is plenty of accommodation in the heart of Wangaratta plus the nearby regions of the King Valley, Glenrowan, Milawa, Eldorado and many other also have some excellent accommodation choices. Furthermore, with the region hosting a large number of annual festivals, celebrations and events, accommodation can be scarce. For that reason if you require Wangaratta accommodation be sure to book early.

The Warby Ranges is only a 10km drive from central Wangaratta and is officially known as the Warby-Ovens National Park. It offers a variety of spots for family picnics and natural experiences such as Ryan’s Lookout, Briens Gorge Falls, The Forest Camp and Pine Gully. Fishing, Camping, Walking, Bike Riding and Gem Prospecting is also available in some areas.

If you are looking for something unique then one of the many regular Wangaratta and regional markets are a great place to begin your search. Each year residents and visitors alike can enjoy markets such as the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz Market, Oxley Bush Market, Wangaratta Swap Meet as well as those close to Wangaratta in Mansfield, Yarrawonga, Jamieson, Myrtleford, Beechworth, Peechelba, Rutherglen and Benalla. These markets include everything from clothes and popular foods through to unique handcrafts and gourmet local produce and wines. These markets are a great opportunity to stock up the pantry with all your favourites from one convenient location and in many cases by dealing with the producer direct.

One of the great things about Wangaratta is its central location to a number of regional attractions. Whether you are planning on visiting the natural wonders around the Warby Ranges or wineries of the King Valley and Rutherglen Wangaratta is a convenient location. If you are travelling to the snowfields then Bright is a comfortable drive and for a taste of history Glenrowan and Beechworth are close by. Wangaratta’s own Performing Arts Centre hosts regular shows. There are also a number of annual, seasonal and special attractions across the region that attract large numbers of visitors to the region each year. If you are planning on visiting during the holiday season be sure to book your accommodation early as rooms do fill up.

The King Valley is a wonderful area which is easily reached from Wangaratta. The King Valley is famous for its excellent wineries and a variety of natural attractions. Whitfield is the hub of many of the King Valleys attractions with Paradise Falls, Lake William Hovell and Powers Lookout all within easy reach and each is certainly worth the drive.

It’s ten years since the Wangaratta Art Gallery presented the first jazzART Awards and jazzART NEXT Youth Awards in support of the annual Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.

This wonderful exhibition provides an opportunity for visual artists to explore music as a theme in their work. Sixty artists will be competing for the $1000 award with a range of artworks that show an amazing diversity in style and media.  Everyone looks forward to seeing the incredible mosaic works by regular participant, the talented Aly Karazija, who incorporates mirrors, beads and stainless steel rod into her large scale creations.
A highlight of this year’s exhibition will be an entry by another enthusiastic participant David Godkin, who has entered a collaborative work.  ‘Mumblin Dave Godkin and the Rhythm & Blues Revue Orchestra’ comprises 22 artists who hail from as far as Italy, NSW and Victoria. They all took up a challenge thrown their way by David to create a self-portrait along with a visual interpretation of a jazz or blues song.

David explains; “There are many famous Jazz and Blues names like ‘Cannon Ball’ Adderly and ‘Screamin’ Jay Hawkins so we have all come up with an AKA for the occasion. We’ve got ‘Decibel’ Deb Tully on trombone, Pam ‘Toots’ Fordham on alto sax, to name a few.  This work is designed to be interactive so we will provide extra art materials for viewers who can draw their own response to a list of Jazz/Blues songs to add to the installation.”

The JazzART NEXT Youth Awards also highlight the importance of our next generation of artists. It’s an important part of the event, encouraging young people to participate and offering awards for a variety of age groups.

The 2012 judge is Frank Burgers from Wangaratta’s Shades of Art, art supply shop.  Shades of Art have generously supported the Awards for many years providing a range of Highly Commended prizes for the youth sections.  Frank, an accomplished artist and teacher, will have the difficult task of selecting the prize winning works for all sections of the event.

Winners of the awards will be announced at a special function at the Gallery at 10.30am on Saturday 3 November. Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations, a great way to ease into the renowned music festival weekend.

For more information contact the Gallery 03 5722 0761.