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After an (understandable) year off in 2020, the areas surrounding Northam, the Avon River and the Swan River will come alive this August with the return of The Avon Descent. Traversing 124km across two days (August 14 and 15), this iconic Western Australian event will be an action-packed weekend filled with powerboats and paddlers navigating from Northam, down through Toodyay, Emu Falls and Bells Rapids before winding up in Bayswater’s Riverside Gardens.

And while it’s a wonderful spectator sport in its own right, not all the action takes place out on the water!

This year there’ll be a wonderful opportunity for families and the community to get involved at a series of free Family Fun Days, taking place across four destinations over the weekend with something for everyone. Get the lowdown below, and for more information on each event head to the Avon Descent Family Fun Days WEBSITE.

2021 Northam Bilya Festival

Held every year on the eve of the Avon Descent, the Northam Bilya Festival marks Northam as the race start line while acknowledging and celebrating the significance of the Avon River on Nyoongar Ballardong Country. There’ll be a cultural Welcome Ceremony and Avon Descent Blessing, along with a live concert, sideshow alley and the ceremonial lighting of Northam’s beautiful pedestrian suspension bridge – the longest of its kind in Australia!

Date + time: Friday 13 August 5pm – 9pm
Location: Bilya Koort Boodja Centre Garden, Minson Avenue, Northam


Toodyay International Food Festival and Family Fun Day

Saturday is one for the foodies as well as the spectators, as the Shire of Toodyay’s International Food Festival and Family Fun Day brings flavours from around the globe to shores of the Avon River. Expect a vast array of food stalls, carnival fun, bouncy castles, face painting, roving entertainment and more.

Date: Saturday 14 August 10am – 4pm
Location: Stirling & Duidgee Parks, Striling Terrace, Toodyay


City of Swan Avon Descent Festival

Finals day can be enjoyed at a couple of great free events, the first being City of Swan’s Avon Descent Festival taking over Lilac Hill Park. The Park will come alive with free rides, tunes, vintage markets and food truck pop-ups! You’ll also able to catch the Race from an idyllic vantage pointwith big screens showing the action down river at Bell’s Rapids. 

Date + Time: Sunday 15 August 10am – 3pm
Location: Lilac Hill Park, 850 W Swan Rd, Caversham


City of Bayswater Avon Descent Finish Line Family Fun Day 2021

Conversely if you’re looking for something a little closer to the City, Riverside Gardens on Milne Street will be thriving with bouncy castles, children’s rides, market stalls and more. And if you’re there for the Race, there’ll also be live commentary over the loudspeakers as competitors hit the home stretch.

Date + Time: Sunday 15 August 11am – 6pm
Location: Riverside Gardens, Milne Street, Bayswater

Head to the Avon Descent Family Fun Day Festivals WEBSITE for more info.