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Avon Descent returns to Northam with a new look Festival

Published on Wednesday, 28 July 2021 at 1:31:28 PM

The iconic white-water race returns to Northam this year on August 14th and is set to be a thriller with hundreds of participants setting off on the Avon River’s high waters.

Friday August 13th

The Avon Descent weekend will kick off on the Friday evening with a re-imagined river festival. Freshly named to reflect the importance of the river in aboriginal culture, the NORTHAM BILYA FESTIVAL will bring a new perspective to the event.

The action will begin at midday when audiences can witness a steady stream of watercraft pass through Bernard Park as entrants register for the race.

At 5pm the gardens at Bilya Koort Boodja will illuminate to mark the season of Makuru.
The ‘River’ themed community float parade will take place from 6pm featuring the WA Police Pipe Band.

At 7pm there will be a Ballardong Cultural Ceremony and Avon Descent Race ‘Blessing of the River’ followed by the launch of the ‘Northam Suspension Bridge Precinct Activation Project’ and the turning on of the new bridge lights.

The Northam Suspension Bridge Precinct Activation Project is being delivered in partnership with RAC, through its Reconnect WA initiative, which aims to create vibrant streets and public spaces for Western Australians to interact and connect with each other.

Shire President Cr Chris Antonio said, ‘The illumination of the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Australia that spans the Avon River will be a magical way to begin a weekend that is focussed on our Bilya.’

‘The Northam Bilya Festival is a unique way to highlight the importance of the River in cultural terms as well as celebrate the start of one of Australia’s most exciting events.’

The Festival will include fun family entertainment, side show alley, marshmallow toasting and performance and music from Phil WalleyStack, The Pipeline Band, Cyndy Moody & Phil Bartlett, Deadly Sista Girlz, Moodijt Koolalingas Choir, Lilly Gogos and many more.

Saturday August 14
The excitement continues early the next morning with the 7am Start of the Avon Descent race.

Bilya Koort Boodja will have the firepit lit to warm the early birds and there will be breakfast and coffee… lots of coffee.
Saturday also marks Bilya Koort Boodja Centre’s 3
rd Birthday.

There will be free cupcakes, free weaving workshop and a live community art work.

Artist Kirk Garlett will create a huge art piece at the BKB depicting the Bilya and the community is invited to take part.