FREMANTLE council has dropped the parade from this year’s Fremantle Festival.
It will instead be replaced with a charity shopping cart race around Kings Square which will help fill St Pat’s shelves with donated food.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said dropping the parade had met with a mixed response from councillors given it was an “institution”, but he’d personally learned to trust that the council’s festival crew knew what it was up to.
“We were getting to the point there were more people in the parade than there were watching it,” Dr Pettitt told the Herald.
He said there didn’t seem to be the same community engagement with the event these days, while schools had indicated it took a lot of resources every year and they would be happier with a biennial event.
“So we’re trying something a bit different, and the shopping trolley race will be a kind of a way to say farewell to Kings Square as it is,” Dr Pettitt said.
The Great Fremantle Race, as the trolleyathon will be known, will see racing teams wearing bright matching costumes and squeaky-wheeling their way around an obstacle course.
The carts will be filled with groceries which will later be donated to St Pat’s.
Mayoral contender Ra Stewart says she was initially shocked to hear of the cancellation, but says after reflecting on residents’ disengagement with the city’s CBD, she wasn’t surprised.
“I would also say that my observations are that there have been less people drawn into the city to watch that parade, which used to be a really significant event.”
She says that’s a further indication that the current council is marching the city backwards, saying she’s seen figures suggesting Mandurah recently overtook Fremantle as Perth’s second-most visited city.
by STEVE GRANT and JENNY D’ANGER