This annual community-based festival is held to promote and celebrate Hobsons Bay and the western suburbs. It will take place in the beautiful surrounds of the Altona foreshore and Cherry Lake reserves on March 20 (Saturday) and March 21 (Sunday), this year.
The theme this year is 'Rhythm of the Jungle'. Attractions include fireworks, live entertainment, craft market, home craft show, cooking, sewing, art show, pet show, baby show, swimming carnival, multicultural food stalls, street parade, pantomime, et al. You can check the detailed list of events here.
A little history: Formerly known as 'Operation Recreation Incorporated', the Bayside Festival began in March 1977 after the opening of Cherry Lake. It was an effort by a group of localites, who wanted to promote recreational opportunities offered by sporting clubs, groups and service clubs within the City of Altona - now called Hobsons Bay.
After uniting with the Altona City Council in 1994, it became known as Operation Recreation Inc. trading as Bayside Festival. Today, it is led by a volunteer committee of local residents and dealers with support from the City of Hobson's Bay's Arts and Culture officer.
Attractions: Chronicles of this colourful and upbeat festival recount that the Grand Street Parade has always remained the star of all events. This year, it will be held at 11.00am on March 21, Sunday and extend from the beach end of Pier Street to Cherry Lake.
Throughout the history of the fest, over eighty entries have participated in the promenade representing various sporting clubs, churches, schools, cultural groups, service clubs and a host of recreational organisations.
Apart from the sheer spirit and frolic of the entire event, there are prizes to be won based on four main criteria – effort, theme, originality and presentation of the charade.
The Saturday night concert at the JK Grant Reserve will feature performances by The Great Gondos, The Flowerpot Gang, The Rogues (Irish band), 50s & 60s Rock 'n' Roll by 'The speedsters' and more.
There'll also be pet shows, a spaghetti eating competition and children's workshops, where they learn how to create handicrafts using recycled materials. You could even hop on for a free historic double decker bus ride around the town.
At the Finnish Hall on Saturday and Sunday, there'll be bloke's stuff like sports, gizmos, carpentry etc. From March 20 to 24, the Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre will showcase the works of artists from the western region at the Qenos Art Show. There will also be a Handmade Expo between 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday at the Senior Citizen's Centre.
There'll be plenty of finger-licking multicultural food too - from Middle Eastern to Asian, from Malay to Spanish and European etc. There'll even be roving buskers at Logan Reserve to amuse all and sundry.
If you haven't witnessed this humble yet rollicking festival before, do so this year, it'll be worth the 20km drive (from Melbourne CBD) to Altona.