When winter winds swirl around Perth, many eyes turn north for a winter warming break.
And while many people love the warmth of the State’s north, there are more than a few who don’t mind snuggling up in front of a fire or setting out on a brisk winter walk.
For those people, Bridgetown’s annual winter fest, Fridgetown, which runs from June to August is the ideal winter tonic.
Western Australia’s self-proclaimed winter capital is back with a blast after the 2020 event was cancelled because of Covid.
Organised by the Bridgetown Greenbushes Business and Tourism Association, local businesses will turn on their blue lights to give the town a winter festive feel and dozens of events featuring the region’s food, art, music and more.
Many of this year’s events are deliberately being kept as intimate, exclusive affairs to allow for Covid safety plans to be put in place.
That includes the legendary Banquet on a Bridge, which this year will be even more exclusive with reduced numbers and a slightly different format featuring individual tables rather than the traditional long table that stretched from end to end of the picturesque Evans Bridge, a short drive out of town.
This year WA Food Ambassador, Don Hancey, will be giving patrons a unique opportunity to be up close for some food theatre and live cooking action, with fire being the key ingredient.
Chefs, cooks, vignerons, brewers, producers and community will celebrate produce originating from the food bowl of the Blackwood River Valley and the Southern Forests, from the hinterland to the Southern Ocean.
The event always sells out quickly and this year is likely to sell out even faster when tickets go on sale over the June long weekend.
A festival within the festival is Puzzle Town, inspired by the Brierley Jigsaw Gallery, the only public jigsaw gallery in the Southern Hemisphere, which runs from 3 to 18 July.
Events are designed for children and adults and include quiz and puzzle trails, geocaching, Twist n’ Turn Rubik’s Cube Masters, Ukeladies street performance, Family Puzzle Race, Dungeons and Dragons and much more.
New puzzles will also be on display in the Brierley Jigsaw Gallery.
The first Fridgetown Fest was held in 2019, a rebranding of the long running Bridgetown in the Winter Festival.
But the festival continues to enchant West Australians looking to get a touch of frost into their lives.
Combine one of the Bridgetown and Greenbushes Art Trails or a visit to the Bridgetown Sunday markets, take in some live music or take some craft lessons and maybe a Christmas dinner.
As well as a multitude of events to choose from, a wide range of accommodation options are available for a few days break.
Less than a three-hour drive from Perth, the rolling green hills, beautiful Blackwood River, and quaint hamlets around the picturesque town of Bridgetown are perfect for a short getaway.
Music events include The Rhapsoscalliwags: the well-loved boys of Blackwood rhapsody on 6 June; Soupe Et Tunes on 12 June and 7 August; Singalong Gospel with Mary Myfanwy and Daun Crozier on 16 June, 21 July and 18 August; Greenbushes Acoustic open mic on 18 June, 20 July and 15 August; The Freemason Hotel Rock Idols Event Night with Chain Reaction; Country Music and Tapas on July 9; Ukeladies on 10 July; Dinner Avec Vinyl on 16 July; The Coles Music Band at The Freemasons Hotel on 31 July; Neil Murray at Bridgetown Pottery-Restaurant on 15 August; and the Lush Band at the Freemasons Hotel on 28 August.
Food events include Secret Picnics from Wednesdays to Sundays; Wattleseed High Tea at the Wattleseed Barn Café and Florist on 19 June; Ford House Christmas Dinner in Winter on 26 June, 3 and 31 July; Diner En Blinder at Bridgetown Pottery-Restaurant on 10 July; Dinner Avec Vinyl at Bridgetown Pottery-Restaurant on 16 July; A “Well-Rounded” Christmas Dinner at FATS on 24 July; Banquet On A Bridge on 22 August; and Yummy Stew and Dumplings at the Bridgetown Family and Community Centre on 23 August.
More information about individual events is available from www.fridgetownfest.com.au.