POLICE have warned patrons of the weekend’s Wunta Festival that unruly behaviour will not be tolerated as the format returns to its Warrnambool central roots on Friday night.
Wunta on Liebig was scrapped in 2008 after more than two decades following complaints about drunken revellers disturbing family groups trying to enjoy food, wine and outdoor socialising.
Organisers have brought it back with a Laneways Festival featuring open-air dining, art shows, children’s entertainment and live music on the main street which will be closed to traffic between Timor and Koroit streets from 4pm.
Alcohol can be purchased only within the festival area which will be fenced off. Access will be via monitored gates off Koroit and Timor streets and a gold coin donation will be sought from patrons.
Sergeant Kelly McNaughton told The Standard police would be on patrol to monitor public safety.
“We want to ensure a good standard of behaviour and welfare,” she said.
“People should be entitled to enjoy themselves without being bothered by unruly patrons.”
She said police would swoop on people breaching local laws, particularly regarding alcohol consumption outdoors.
Alcohol purchased from Liebig Street licensed premises must be consumed within the approved boundary of that business. A special tent will also be set up on Liebig Street to sell alcohol in plastic cups and cans.
Wunta committee leader Catherine Williams said the program was designed to be an enjoyable opportunity to socialise and explore what Liebig Street and its traders had to offer.
“No alcohol will be allowed in or out through the gates — people can’t bring in their own Eskies loaded with booze,” she said.
“Traders and restaurants are embracing the opportunity by providing a wide variety of food and products on the footpaths.
“We’ll also have a waiter’s race between Premier Denis Napthine and mayor Cr Michael Neoh.”
Cr Neoh applauded the organising committee’s decision to take the Friday night section of the three-day festival back to Liebig Street.
“Wunta started out as a wine and foot fiesta — going back to Liebig Street brings the focus back to dining,” he said.
Wunta starts on Friday morning with a community breakfast at the Civic Green from 7am including the Undy 500 sprint.
On Saturday there will be a skate competition at the foreshore park from 10am, jazz concerts and gourmet food stalls in the botanic gardens from 12.30pm, a DJ concert at Lake Pertobe from 1pm and an open-air movie show at the Civic Green from 8pm.
Sunday will feature a concert at Lake Pertobe highlighting some of the district’s best bands from 11am to 6pm plus a car show on an adjacent section of the reserve.