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Festival of the Sea

Barwon Heads Festival of the Sea

The annual festival is a celebration of our links to the sea through the diversity of our environment, history, arts, culture and lifestyle.

The festival is now in its 18th year and remains a FREE community event packed with fun and educational activities. It attracts approximately 5000 people and showcases local musical talent, art and craft, local produce, and knowledge of the sea and coastline. The festival is planned and delivered by volunteers and delivered in partnership with many community organisations. Events include walks and talks that run from 13 to 17 March, and main celebration day is Sunday 18 March 2018. Information can be found on the website at  or follow us on Facebook (Barwon Heads Festival of the Sea).

About Barwon Heads

Barwon Heads is a small village surrounded by ocean beaches and marine sanctuary, river estuary and bluff, wetlands and state park. The enclosed nature of Barwon Heads encourages a sense of identity and community, and also makes it a place for innovation and response to local challenges. Its popularity as a holiday destination complements a strong residential and business community with many talented individuals and a wide range of arts, sporting, environmental and other community groups. The annual Festival of the Sea reflects this energy and capacity in the village and its surrounds.

The theme for the 2018 festival: Our history and the sea

This year we lookback at our history, considering changes in the landscape, Aboriginal heritage, early settlers, and our ever-changing relationship with the sea and coastline. We explore some of the less known facts about the Bellarine Peninsula, and create intrigue by combining environmental messages with the arts.

The Festival of the Sea provides a space for all community groups in and around Barwon Heads to contribute to celebrating who we are as a community, and what is special about the place where we live. This festival fosters the formation of partnerships between groups and individuals in our village by the sea, and helps build relationships with each other, and with the magnificent marine, coastal, and estuarine environments we share.

This year the program includes:

-A wide range of activities for children and young people to educate and raise awareness of our rich natural and cultural heritage (e.g., school science night, student rockpool ramble, art fence, arts activities, and the kids zone).

-Involvement of many community groups that care for our local environments (Barwon Coast, Barwon Estuary Heritage Centre “Lobster Pot”, Friends of the Bluff, Coast Care, Parks Victoria, Barwon Water, Community Arts Garden, Sustainability Group) with activities such as field trips and excursions.

-Showcasing different art forms that reflect on sea themes - live music on Saturday night and Sunday, film night, spoken word, Seachange Quilters exhibition, Pole Art Sculptures. An Arts Walk on Saturday 17 March between 4pm-6pm will fascinate spectators as they move between several popup art stations across the foreshore, and this event hosted in partnership with the Barwon Heads Arts Council thanks to a grant from Bellarine Community Health. We have also had grants from the Barwon Heads Community Bank, City of Greater Geelong, and the Department of Social Services that have enabled us to achieve great things.

-The Pot Luck dinner celebrates local produce and sharing with a community feast.

-Market stalls and food stalls bring interest and vibrancy to the festival.

-The famous duck race is our main fundraiser. The duck race is scheduled for approximately 3pm on Sunday 18 March. Selling tickets to the duck race is the key source of income for the festival – visit the website for more information.

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