Bendigo Easter Parade. Photo: BRENDAN McCARTHY

THIS year’s Bendigo Easter Festival has been hailed as one of the best in recent memory, thanks to stunning weather and huge crowds that flocked to the city across the Easter long weekend.

The undoubted highlight of the festival was Easter Sunday’s parade, a celebration of colour, heritage, tradition and community that saw parade entrants wind their way past a crowd estimated at more than 40,000 before a massive contingent from the Bendigo Chinese Association brought the parade to a noisy crescendo.

Many onlookers were there just to grab one last look, and one last photo of the city’s much loved Chinese Imperial dragon, Sun Loong, on his last solo appearance before the highly anticipated arrival of Dai Gum Loong in 2019.

The Easter celebrations kicked off with Thursday night’s Rotary 50th anniversary Art Exhibition, which attracted more than 840 entries and helped raise about $25,000 for local charity projects in yet another spectacular success for organisers.

The Vision Australia Easter Egg hunt was also well received, especially given its extension to a second day this year. More than 178,000 eggs were distributed across two days, making Rosalind Park the place to be for youngsters with a sweet tooth.

Rosalind Park provided the perfect backdrop to the carnival-like atmosphere that comes from Easter in Bendigo, while Bull Street rocked on Saturday and Sunday as the Easter party continued. Photos: Brendan McCarthy