Dunsborough today is set to host one of the biggest March long weekend festivals in regional Western Australia.
The popular annual Dunsborough Arts Festival last year attracted more than 7000 people, and a bigger crowd is expected this weekend with record entries for one of its signature headliners, Sculpture by the Bay.
The Arts Festival is a free event, beginning tonight and running through until Monday afternoon.
The Sculpture by the Bay competition is celebrating its 10th year with the Festival, attracting 74 entries from throughout Western Australia, with artists vying for a share in a $15,000 prize pool.
Entries have come from as far afield as the Perth region, the Southern wheatbelt, the Great Southern and from artists throughout the Southwest. All sculptures entered will be on sale to the public.
Coordinator Jacquie Happ said 45 large sculptures would be exhibited along the main Dunsborough foreshore and the adjoining Seymour Park tomorrow and on Sunday, with a further 29 entered for a new ‘small sculpture’ prize, with exhibits on show at the Christian Fletcher Gallery in Dunsborough’s main street, Dunn Bay Road.
Work on installing some of the sculptures begins today, with the rest in place by the time judging begins at 8am tomorrow.
Mrs Happ said sixteen artists were new to the competition, an indication of its growing popularity.
“The standard of work this year is quite exceptional, so it’s going to be a tough job for the judges,” she said.
The annual evening Festival foreshore concert tomorrow night – ‘Classics by the Bay’ concert will feature jazz artists, while the Sunday ‘Rhythms by the Bay’ concert is expected to have the crowd on its feet on pop and rock performances.
Both concerts are free, but no BYO is permitted. Bar and food facilities will be available, raising funds for future Festivals and other community events.
A free screening on the foreshore tonight of the iconic Australian M15+ movie The Castle is a BYO picnic event.
“We urge people to cycle or walk to the events because of limited parking,” Mrs Happ said.
The popular foreshore Festival Arts Market will be held on Sunday with the opportunity to buy hand made products from artisans from throughout WA.
The foreshore will buzz with plenty of other Festival activities throughout the weekend, including kite flying, belly dancing, day time music performances, suitcase circus, drumming workshops, sculpture talks, art sales from the Dunsborough Art Society and the annual X Factor competition for talented local youth.
“The public can even have a go at adding their own touches to seascape murals, assisted by experienced artists on Saturday and Sunday on the foreshore,” Mrs Happ said.
In conjunction with the Arts Festival, the Busselton Fringe Festival will stage ticketed shows over the long weekend at the old Dunsborough hall.
The Dunsborough Arts Festival is organised entirely by volunteers from the Dunsborough Progress Association and community members.