Record crowds at 19th annual Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The 2017 Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest, presented by Live Lighter, experienced the biggest crowd on record at the weekend, with 165,000 local, national and international visitors enjoying all the 19th annual festival had to offer.

Droves of festival-goers descended on the newly redeveloped Eastern Foreshore, city centre and cultural precinct on March 18 and 19 for the City of Mandurah’s signature event, which boasted the best on show of entertainment, food, art, children’s activities and attractions.

This year’s Crab Fest was held on the back of winning Gold at the Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards, and Bronze at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

Many local businesses on the foreshore, marina and beyond experienced roaring trade, with many visitors keen to try Mandurah’s local restaurants, coffee shops and accommodation providers throughout the festival.

As well as the bustling gourmet food stalls dishing up crowd-pleasers, thousands of people were keen to get their hands on a feed of fresh cooked and raw crabs, with crab sales from Tuckey’s Tackle and other local restaurants going extremely well over the weekend.

This year’s ticketed food events took the dining experiences to the next level, with Fervor’s Dinner Under the Stars and Mandurah Cruises’ Progressive Dinner Cruise sell-out events. The High Tea under the Fig Tree was well attended on both Saturday and Sunday, with Channel 7’s Susannah Carr making a special appearance. Diners at the Crab Boil on the Nino’s boardwalk tucked in to their seafood spread while being entertained by musician Lightning Jack.

The Harvey Norman Mandurah Cooking Stage was popular all weekend, featuring live cooking demonstrations with Nev from My Kitchen Rules, celebrity chefs Bart Beek and Dale Sniffen, Mayor Marina Vergone, Nova 93.7’s Nathan, Nat and Shaun, Channel 7 celebrities and Kid’s Cooking Competition winner Ava Paschkewitz.

Close to 30 artists took part in the En Plein Air Art Competition over the weekend, creating their works throughout the Crab Fest footprint. The painters worked with a number of different mediums including cloth, oil, acrylics, watercolour and body painting, some even selling their works over the weekend.

The En Plein Air Art competition winners were:

  • Winner Contemporary category – Jos Coufreur. Highly Commended Gayle Bukey
  • Winner Traditional category – Leon Holmes. Highly Commended Carmine Cilli
  • Winner People’s Choice Award – Lulu Ball

Local artist Emma Blyth’s signature artwork for this year’s Crab Fest was auctioned over the weekend, raising $5400 for Mandurah Primary School.

More than 50 hours of entertainment was enjoyed throughout the weekend, including the Music Stage with live acts including Moorditj Brothers, the Australian Army Band, Benny Mayhem and Jonny Taylor. Australia’s leading urban/pop group Justice Crew drew massive crowds on Saturday night before the fireworks display, and Australian rock stalwarts Thirsty Merc delivered the crowd favourites on Sunday afternoon.

Mayor Marina Vergone said the Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest was again a fantastic event that the Mandurah community could be proud of.

“The Crab Fest weekend was incredible. There was such a positive vibe throughout the festival, with many families and friends enjoying everything the event had to offer, from delicious food, exciting entertainment, children’s activities and heaps of attractions,” she said.

“Crab Fest goes from strength to strength each year, and we’re so happy to have built on our successes to deliver another highlight festival that was enjoyed by thousands of local, national and international visitors.

“It was really lovely to see so many people out and about in our beautiful city, and enjoying the newly redeveloped Eastern Foreshore seawall too.

“I’d like to thank all those involved, including the local business community, local residents, sponsors, volunteers, city staff and emergency services personnel, for their hard work in making this event such a huge success and one to remember.”