All aboard for the Whalesong Festival

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Augusta Primary School choristers.
Camera IconAugusta Primary School choristers.

Despite the region’s overflowing tourism offerings, there will be just one destination this long weekend — Augusta.

A broad alliance of residents and community groups will come together for the annual Whalesong Festival, now celebrated across three days.

Festivities kick off today and continue across the weekend through a series of hosted events.

Highlights this year — in the annual festival which celebrates Augusta as well as the Cape’s seasonal whale visitors — include the traditional Blessing of the Fleet, a Tastes of Augusta dinner at the revamped Colourpatch Cafe, guided historical tours, a kite festival tomorrow and Aboriginal dance and storytelling at Augusta’s Centennial Hall.

Community Resource Centre manager Carmel Norris said volunteers had jumped on board for the festival, which coincides with the official start of whale-watching season.

“It is a festival which has grown over the years from the original Blessing of the Fleet ceremony, to a three-day, fully-programmed event,” Ms Norris said.

Local producers were also involved in the line-up, focused on seafood and wine, and the festival committee was thrilled to welcome the Undalup Association for the first time.

The Aboriginal group offer a live dance performance from the Binjareb Middars followed by a bushtucker lunch starting at 11am.

“Sunday is the family free festival day and Blessing of the Fleet at the Augusta Boat Harbour from 9am to 2pm,” Ms Norris said.

“There is a huge line-up of local entertainment, wide range of fantastic stalls showcasing the best of South West’s artisan crafts, fashion, jewellery and local produce.

“There will be plenty to keep the kids occupied and entertained with activity tents, face painting, Nixie the Mermaid, and meeting our emergency services teams while taking part in demonstrations.”

The Augusta rowers would also be on hand with residents and families able to try out the club’s skiffs on the tranquil Blackwood River.

The Augusta Historical Society will run free tours on the public holiday Monday, helping visitors “discover the secrets and rich heritage of Augusta”.

As well as hosting the kite displays, the Augusta Hotel would offer discounted lunches overlooking the river on the Monday too.

For more information and ticketed events, visit www.whalesongfestival. com.au.

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