The Fleurieu Peninsula town of Middleton has been named overall winner of the Santos Best Dressed Town competition as part of the latest Santos Tour Down Under.
The competition has rewarded community involvement and decorating of towns, businesses and homes since the event’s inception in 1999.
It has become a longstanding tradition that helps welcome visitors, cyclists and their teams across every region and town the Santos Tour Down Under visits.
Middleton’s win marks the first overall victory for the town, and the first win within the Alexandrina Council which hosted Hahn Men’s Stage 4 on Friday 19 January.
Middleton township was dressed in blue, orange and yellow themed decorations. Painted bikes and surfboard-shaped signs promoted the event and town, which is famous for its surfing beaches and stunning coastline.
Community-made Santos Tour Down Under lamppost signage topped off the township’s efforts and helped welcome locals and visitors to Middleton to watch the race speed past.
The township will receive $5,500 worth of furniture from Spark, $3000 to be spent on an improvement project or resources of the nominee’s choice, and two metal signs along with the perpetual trophy. The prizes will be presented to the township to reward their achievement.
Previous winner Lobethal was runner-up in the competition, with Christies Beach – which hosted its first ever stage start – finishing in third place following the 10-day event.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said a big congratulations goes to Middleton for taking out this year’s overall Santos Best Dressed Town, making it another win for the Fleurieu Peninsula.
“It was wonderful to see crowds flock to the race routes for this year’s Santos Tour Down Under and see the benefits this world-class event brought to regional South Australia,” Minister Bettison said.
“Not only has Middleton got behind the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere to take this title, but we saw the picturesque coastal town of Port Elliot welcome its first-ever stage finish – all contributing to tourism spend in the Fleurieu Peninsula which is currently worth $876 million.
“The longstanding tradition of the Santos Best Dressed Town demonstrates what our great international cycling festival does for South Australia’s regions, as we see operators’ enthusiasm to showcase their businesses to new visitors and to audiences around the world through the global broadcast.”
Santos CEO and Managing Director Kevin Gallagher said local communities have always been ready to embrace the Santos Tour Down Under.
“Santos has sponsored this world class event for 15 years, and it has been fantastic to see the community excitement and support grow every year,” Mr Gallagher said.
“The Santos Tour Down Under is something every South Australian should be proud of. It provides a significant contribution to the state’s tourism industry and showcases the attractions of South Australia to the world through global television coverage and social media.”
“A huge thank you to all those who got involved and decorated their communities in celebration of the event. I look forward to seeing how you will top this year’s spectacular decorations at the Santos Tour Down Under 2025.”
Middleton Town & Foreshore Association Vice President Jenifer Watts was elated with the town’s overall win.
“Our residents of the beautiful seaside town of Middleton are thrilled that their passion and hard work to welcome the Santos Tour Down Under through our main street has been recognised as the overall winners of the Santos Best Dressed Town competition,” Ms Watts said.
“Our Middleton Town & Foreshore Association volunteers put in a great deal of time designing and making our surfboard-themed promotional bikes, hundreds of metres of banners and signs to adorn our street poles.”
“The fantastic prizes will be put back into art projects to bring more joy to our local community and the many thousands of tourists who enjoy all our little town has to offer.”
2024 Santos Best Dressed Town Winners
Gold Santos Best Dressed Town – Middleton
Silver Santos Best Dressed Town – Lobethal
Bronze Santos Best Dressed Town – Christies Beach
Santos Best Dressed Commercial or Community Property – Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museum
Santos Best Dressed Private Property – Ryan Smith, Willunga
See the full list of daily and overall winners from the 2024 Santos Best Dressed Town competition here.