Wickepin Festival attracts crowds to family fun day and unveiling of mural by Jerome Davenport

Headshot of Isabel Vieira
Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Festival organisers Libby Heffernan, back left, Ammers Miley, Ashley Steere, Jake Martin, front left, Lauren McColl, Meidy Wira Putri and Tyron Miller.
Camera IconFestival organisers Libby Heffernan, back left, Ammers Miley, Ashley Steere, Jake Martin, front left, Lauren McColl, Meidy Wira Putri and Tyron Miller. Credit: Karen Langford

The inaugural Wickepin Festival attracted nearly 1000 people for a family fun day and the unveiling of a special mural by Wickepin’s Jerome Davenport.

Inflatable obstacle courses, market stalls, food vans, live entertainment and family friendly activities packed Wickepin Oval on Saturday, February 26.

One of the main attractions was a car rally, which saw participants follow a series of clues leading them to the town’s historic sites in order to complete the course.

Crowd favourites such as sheaf and boot tossing, whip cracking and blade shearing demonstrations kept people entertained.

The Lansdell Family Band and Kulin’s music duo Edona Heartland performed live throughout the day and into the night.

The festival also featured a local art exhibition and competition, which was won by Cassidy Smith for her artwork “Pip” in the overall category and Olivia Hendry for “Bouquet of Fish” in the high school category.

Community group Ignite Wicky organised the event out of a desire to promote Wickepin and its attractions

A special mural by Wickepin’s Jerome Davenport was unveiled at the festival and used as a colourful photo backdrop throughout the day.

The mural features native Pink Summer Calytrix flowers and the words ‘A Fortunate Place’ in reference to Albert Facey and the region’s history.

Mr Davenport is an internationally renowned aerosol artist who has been working across regional WA since moving back from London.

“The country is home to where the heart is, so it’s always great to get back involved with what’s going on,” Mr Davenport said.

“Coming from Wickepin, it’s always nice to be involved in the community.”

Mr Davenport said he spent the past nine months travelling everywhere painting murals.

“A lot of towns were really impacted by COVID and couldn’t have large festivals or events with many people,” he said.

“A lot of their funding got reallocated into public art and art programs, so that was a good opportunity for us to get in there and help beautify some town. This helped to create some more drawcards and push tourism back through those lovely little historical towns.

“I think they are lacking that drive and people just congregate towards Margaret River or Albany but there are all these beautiful little Wheatbelt towns that get left out.

“If we can give them some sort of drawcard I think that’s the least we could do.”

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