Wonderful wool on show

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser

The Vancouver Street Festival returns for a fourth year on Saturday with a day full of gourmet food, heritage celebrations, artisan markets and a spectacular line-up of entertainment.

The festival, presented by Act-Belong-Commit, will feature a variety of musical talents including Odette Mercy and her Soul Atomics, the Albany Shantymen, the dance beats of David Rastrick’s Electric Swing Thing and the moving sounds of Soulin Wild. Double bass and piano accordion duo Flamacue will be playing and The Second Hand lead a line-up of roaming street artists.

New this year is the Manga Milkbar, a creative space for young people with free wi-fi, aerial displays, Japanese-inspired craft and space to draw.

Cosplayers are especially welcomed, with the design of the Milkbar inspired by vintage anime.

The annual Vintage Tweed Ride will be a highlight again this year, with both vintage and non-vintage cycles welcome to join the ride that leaves the University of WA on Stirling Terrace at 12.20pm.

Albany’s connection to wool production, fashion and craft will be celebrated through a specially-commissioned exhibition, The Story of Wool. Curator Annette Davis said compiling the exhibition had taken her on an incredible journey of discovery to learn about the influence sheep and the wool industry had on Albany.

“There have been all kinds of incredible stories coming forward about wool production, design, and Noongar achievement in shearing,” she said.

The old woollen mills, of which a foundation stone was laid by WA Premier Sir James Mitchell in March, 1924, is one of the best-known buildings in Albany and an ongoing reminder of the former strength of the local wool industry.

Community groups have been busy knitting a scarf to wrap around the Vancouver Arts Centre on the day of the festival as part of the exhibition.

“Great Southern Grammar made a 10m scarf using lots of different techniques working with wool,” Ms Davis said. “There have been many wonderful contributions to this scarf — it has been a whole-of-community creation and a cross-generational experience,” Ms Davis said.

Another feature of The Story of Wool will be 60 black-and-white photographs of shearing across the Great Southern region captured by ACE Camera Club members.

Festival parking will be available in Foundation Park, Parade Street, Albany.

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