LAKE BOLAC - The countdown to the ninth annual Lake Bolac Eel Festival is almost over.
The festival begins tonight with the official opening of the Art Exhibition from 6pm.
The exhibition is open all weekend in the Memorial Hall, and this year features the work of highly regarded Koori artist Eileen Harrison.
Eileen lived in Ararat and worked for a short time in Lake Bolac.
As well as the music from the Festival Stage the Buskers' Stage will feature some exciting new talent.
At the forum between 11am and 1pm Saturday keynote speaker Natalie Davey will speak on her recent trip following the eel migratory path to Vanuatu.
Other presenters include film maker, author and former local resident, Robin deCrespigny who has written the highly acclaimed book 'The People Smuggler'.
Ms de Crespigny will also give an author talk during Saturday afternoon and be available to sign copies of her book.
Also presenting at the forum is Michelle Casanova on the Biology of Migration.
David Thompson and John Clarke will discuss Indigenous movement and placement, while local historian Colin McKenzie will give a brief overview of European migration to the district.
The Fiery Creek, route of the 2013 Healing Walk, will be the focus for Beyond Bolac Catchment Action Group as well as for reflections from the Healing Walk participants.
Visitors are also encouraged to learn some Gunditjmara words at the language workshop, visit the craft and produce stalls, discover something new at the boat shed display area and enjoy some yummy food.
There will be entertainment for children of all ages including The Connies, Allan Clark's circus skills workshop and kite making.
There will also be a weird and intriguing performance, 'Whips and didgeridoo and juggling' by Dusty Boots.
From 10am on Saturday on the foreshore people can also participate in a writing workshop to imagine themselves in the 1800s.
They can think their way into the history of the stones and the volcanic eruption over two million years ago.
Personalise a stone with your initials, an image or a symbol and add it to the wall.
Eel Festival secretary Una Allender said there is a range of things for people to be involved in tomorrow.
"We are once again very much looking forward to a fantastic festival," she said.
Ms Allender said the theme of migration will extend across the wide range of entertainment and activities.
She said the festival is something that is really important to Lake Bolac.
"It is possibly one of the oldest festivals in Australia," she said.
"We have features at the festival aimed at recreating the festival before white settlement."
Ms Allender said she expects the event to be as well attended as in previous years.
"We had around a thousand people last year and we don't see why we couldn't get that many people again this year," she said.
"It really is an event for anyone who is looking to come along and experience something new.
"The event provides a friendly, laid back atmosphere.
"We are also hoping to have a tank of live eels and cooked fresh eel for people who want to have some."
More information about tomorrow's event is available from the Lake Bolac Information and Business Centre on 5350 2204.