27 September, 2019 By: Tatum Stafford
Fringe, PIAF and Groovin' The Moo may be the first that spring to mind when thinking about great WA festivals.
But thanks to our state's mammoth size, there are loads of community festivals that fly under the radar - and definitely deserve some attention.
Showcasing everything from agriculture and historical trains to astro-photography and bush poetry, here are 10 of WA's quirkiest community festivals.
1. Balingup Medieval Carnivale
Balingup's fourth weekend of August is a leap back in time. What was once a half-day event outside the local town hall has become a Carnivale weekend filled with jesters, medieval combat, horseback archery and a 'burning of the dragon' bonfire. Throw in a street parade, live music and some friendly reptiles and it's no secret why this annual event attracts thousands of visitors each year.
2. Jarrahdale Log Chop
WA's biggest wood chop takes place on Jarrahdale Oval each October, attracting 'choppers' from far and wide to showcase their log cutting skills. Held alongside the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Lions Country Fair, the event also caters for spectators with its share of agricultural displays, rides and musical entertainment.
3. The Highland Gathering
Some may not know that 'Perth' is also a city in central Scotland - and in true Scottish flair, the Highland Gathering held in Armadale, Western Australia is filled with traditional dancing, bagpipe competitions and the famed Perth Kilt Run. Held each October, this day-long festival also features haggis samples and live folk music - and all runners' registration fees are donated to local charities.
The WA Rail Transport Museum is the state's only railway heritage museum - and also plays host to an annual Railfest event each October. Located in Bassendean, the museum's Railfest celebrates the state's rail heritage and features a swap meet for pre-loved model trains, a Thomas the Tank Engine ride for kids and the chance to see woodturners, blacksmiths and replica steam engines in action.
5. Yalgoo Emu Festival
If a 'Ninja-Warrior'-style Emu Novelty Race is up your alley, join the Midwest locals at this popular festival in Yalgoo each October. Located two hours east of Geraldton, Yalgoo Emu Festival attendees can expect a day filled with emu egg carving, an emu sculpture competition, sand castle building and a comically costumed 'Emu Novelty Race'.
6. Astro Rocks Fest
Though most commonly known as the longest surviving gold mining settlement in WA, the town of Mount Magnet also plays host to the annual Astro Rocks Fest each September. Situated within the Murchison-Geo region, this astronomical event features everything from rock exhibitions and photography workshops to an interactive reptile display and an outdoor, space-themed film program.
7. Wattle Week Festival
Within a 100km radius of Dalwallinu in WA's Wheatbelt lie the most species of Acacia (wattles) in the world - providing the perfect backdrop for the town's annual Wattle Week Festival each September. With a range of events in Dalwallinu and beyond (and convenient shuttle buses running between each locations), visitors can enjoy the bonfires, bush breakfasts, wildflower tours, sundowners and farm tours on offer.
8. Nambung Country Music Muster
Only two hours north of Perth lies WA's biggest annual country music event - the Nambung Country Music Muster. Held at the Nambung Station Stay in Cervantes each October, the Muster is a jam-packed weekend of Australian ballads, original songs, country favourites, bush poetry and line dancing. Attendees are encouraged to camp out alongside the Nambung shearing shed, and a large portion of proceeds are donated to local charities
9. Dardanup Bull & Barrel Festival
Held in each October school holidays, the 'Bull & Barrel' showcases the Ferguson Valley region with a diverse range of attractions and activities. Guests can enjoy a dog agility performance, log chop demonstrations, horse and cart rides and a trash and treasure swap meet. And for the grand finale, a giant bull sculpture is created and then cremated by local artist Russel Sheridan in the roaring 'burning of the bull' event.
10. St Barbara's Parade
An integral part of the Goldfields events calendar, the St Barbara's Festival is held each November to celebrate the partnership between Kalgoorlie-Boulder residents and the mining industry. Culminating in a vibrant parade on the final day of the festival, attendees can expect mining equipment displays, demonstrations of mine rescues and a glimpse at the enormous KCGM Cat 793 Haul Truck, which is 13 metres long and 6 metres tall, rumbling down Hannan Street in the Kalgoorlie town centre.
Want to attend one of these quirky festivals?
Stopover at one of RAC's Parks & Resorts on the way. With a range of convenient locations, there's sure to be a stay to suit you.