Lotterywest Avon Descent Festivals Weekend

Lotterywest Avon Descent Festivals Weekend

Last Updated: 11 Jul 2024
Madeline Frayne

Over recent years, the Avon Descent has turned into a fun Weekend of Festivals, with four separate festivals, this year running on the second weekend of August alongside a host of special water events, kayaking, powerboating including short-course amateur challenges and dragon boat racing.

Spectators are treated to a weekend of entertainment and sightseeing as up to 600 paddlers and powerboats battle through 124km of rocks, rapids and Ti trees before reaching the finish line in Bayswater on Sunday afternoon.

Apart from the excitement of seeing powerboats and paddlers tackle the rapids, for families, teens and all the big attraction is the four festivals with parades, amusement rides, clowns, fireworks, face painting, live entertainment and endless food and drink events. This year includes an urban farming display at Northam, Skatepark competition and DJ at Toodyay, Artisan markets and wood chopping competition at Swan and WA Birds of Prey feature tent at Bayswater.

This year, the Northam Bilya street-party includes an urban farming display, the Toodyay International Food Fest serves up a range of local and global cuisines with a skatepark competition and DJ, and on Sunday morning the massive  City of Swan Festival includes artisan markets and a wood chopping competition, while the Bayswater Finish Line Festival has a feature tent full of WA Birds of Prey and gives everyone a chance to cheer in the racers while enjoying more amusement rides, food trucks and entertainment.

We’ve put together a day-by-day rundown, but for more information check out:

Day 1: Friday August 9

The excitement kicks off on the Friday afternoon with the Northam Bilya Festival, a community street party from 5pm to 9pm. The Northam community goes all-out for their biggest event of the year, with a parade of floats in this year’s theme of ‘Homegrown’, food stalls and live music. Kids are in for a treat with amusement rides and activities, capped off with a spectacular fireworks display over the Avon River. The festival also celebrates the Indigenous spiritual value of the Avon River with entertainment from local Indigenous performers. There are also several opportunities to chat with Avon Descent participants.

Day 2: Saturday August 10

On Saturday participants start bright and early at 8am to traverse 50 kilometres of challenging whitewater rapids toward Toodyay, before the overnight stop at Cobbler Pool. Key spectator spots include the Glen Avon Rapids and the Leatherhead Rapids, which have bridges that provide an overhead view of action. Eager spectators will get there early to secure the best viewing spot.

Only an hours drive from the CBD, the Toodyay International Food Fest runs from 10am-4pm and is located at Duidgee Park and Stirling Park. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Toodyay Festival. Annually attracting up to 5000 people, kids can enjoy free bouncy castles, roving entertainment, face painting and a huge skatepark compeition with DJ’s spinning tunes all day. The festival also features live international music performances, over 30 global cuisines from food vans and stalls and an area designated to Toodyay’s local produce.

Day 3: Sunday August 11

Sunday is the biggest race day with 72 kilometres to cover. Punters can also join in for the Bond to Bayswater Belter for the final 13 kilometres of flatwater, a great option for novice participants.

In the morning, the City of Swan Festival runs from 10am to 3pm at Lilac Hill Park and is packed with family-friendly activities, amusement rides and food trucks. Attendees are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles and utilize refill stations. This year the festival will be highlighting artisan market stalls and woodchopping competitions.

Just a 20-minute drive away, the Bayswater Finish Line Festival runs from 11am to 5pm at Riverside Gardens in Bayswater and gives everyone a chance to cheer in the Avon Descent Participants while enjoying family entertainment, kids rides, food trucks and a WA Birds of Prey feature tent. Close to the city, this is a great location for everyone to attend and an idyllic way to finish off a fantastic weekend of excitement

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