Fremantle is gaining a reputation as the “city of festivals” and the period from December to June will showcase the port city’s most colourful and diverse offerings.
New to the calendar are the Fremantle International Beer Festival, Fremantle Boating Festival, Fremantle Sports Festival and the Fremantle Lobster Festival (still in the planning process), while old favourites include the Fremantle Street Arts Festival and the Fremantle Heritage Festival.
The Street Arts Festival was first developed seven years ago to celebrate Fremantle’s unique busking culture and has since grown into the biggest street performance festival in Australia and the third largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the Easter long weekend, the best comedians, dancers, acrobats, trapeze artists, magicians, jugglers, vaudevillians, musicians, clowns, mimes and human statues from around the world will ignite the streets of Fremantle in a program jam-packed with mirth, merriment and mayhem. Last year, more than 100,000 people of all ages were delighted, awestruck and entertained, and all it costs is a contribution in a hat to show your appreciation.
Boasting a title as the best-preserved 19th century port city in the world, Fremantle showcases its rich history in the weeklong Fremantle Heritage Festival in May. From the extraordinary to the unique and quirky there will be walks, talks, tours and activities celebrating the people, buildings and events that make Fremantle the state’s heritage capital. The program will engage all age groups with numerous events, exhibitions and awards, which will either be free or attract a nominal fee, from a gold coin to about $15.
For three days in March, Fremantle will draw upon its unique blend of food, wine, beer, history, art and cosmopolitan society to transform itself into an international feast of beer, food and entertainment. Visitors to the Fremantle International Beer Festival will be able to sample their way through endless tents of beer brewers – local, national and international – all complemented by exquisite food and wines and some of the nation’s best musicians and singers. Tickets are expected to be priced around $40 and will include sample beer tokens.
At the end of March the Fremantle Sports Festival will celebrate the end of the summer sporting calendar with a sport fiesta. The festival will be held mostly on the beachfront of the Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club and will feature sports such as swimming, triathlon, beach volleyball, water skiing, sailing, athletics, cycling, board riding, windsurfing, bowls, golf, tennis, bocce and cricket.
In its second year, the three-day Fremantle Blues 'n' Roots Festival will be held in April on the rolling lawns and among the pines of the Esplanade, offering WA the finest dose of cruisin' tunes to hit our side of the country – from blues to country, roots to reggae.
And Boats – where would Fremantle be without boats? Over Christmas and New Year Fremantle will come alive with yachting fever, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the heady days of the America’s Cup. From mid-December, the entrants in the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race will arrive in Fremantle (hopefully led by local entrant westernaustralia.com) for refits before heading off again on January 1. The race village will be in the heart of Fishing Boat Harbour, with opportunities to meet the crews and see the yachts up close.
Boating will also be on the calendar in April. The three-day inaugural Fremantle Boating Festival will celebrate Fremantle’s rich nautical heritage and reflect the character of its vibrant community in a relaxed festive atmosphere showcasing all things nautical – luxury cruising, sailing, fishing and scuba diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, water skiing, wake boarding, wind surfing and kayaking, plus entertainment, tourism and boating destinations, career information and classes covering everything from fishing tips to marine navigation. Admission is free.
Clipper Challenge, December 17-January 1.
Fremantle Lobster Festival, February 12.
Fremantle International Beer Festival, March 4-6.
Fremantle Street Arts Festival, Easter.
Fremantle Blues and Roots Festival, April.
Fremantle Boating Festival, April 28-30.
Fremantle Heritage Festival, May 25-June 4.