Telethon Family Festival 2022: Free festivities take to the streets of Perth for the first time

Telethon has a new home at the RAC Arena next weekend, as does the Telethon Family Festival – right in the heart of the CBD.

And with free public transport across WA this Sunday, there’s no need to bring the car with trains and buses taking you straight to the Telethon and the festival.

The state will give generously to sick children in need as it is treated to some of the best musical acts during the 26-hour broadcast, while a large stretch of Wellington Street from the RAC Arena to Yagan Square will be transformed into the Telethon Family Festival .

The fundraiser will branch out from the RAC Arena with more than 40 food trucks, carnival rides, community performances, roving entertainment, a petting zoo and more outside the venue – all free.

This year marks the third time the Telethon Family Festival has been held, but the first will be in the CBD.

Festivities will flow onto Wellington Street, which will be closed between Elder and William streets from 12.00 to 23.30 on Sunday.

Yagan Square and Forrest Place will also host family fun throughout the day.

Renee Wingfield, who goes by her alter ego Miss Gail Force as she performs, will entertain audiences with circus tricks along with more than 20 other performers.

“This year is going to be exciting for families,” she said.

Beverley Williamson, Bronwyn Fox and George Donaldson will perform at the huge Telethon Family Festival on Sunday.
Camera iconBeverley Williamson, Bronwyn Fox and George Donaldson will perform at the huge Telethon Family Festival on Sunday. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

“I really encourage everyone to come down to celebrate such a great cause and there will be so much to do.

“I think it’s going to be the best year of Telethon yet.”

The Telethon Family Festival is free to attend for all ages with a gold coin donation to watch the live broadcast inside the RAC Arena.

The State Government is showing its support for the fundraiser by waiving public transport fees – at a cost of $250,000 – to provide easy access to the star-studded event.

With free public transport all day, everyone is encouraged to take a train or bus to get to the event. There are plenty of City of Perth car parks nearby, but underground parking at the RAC Arena is not available.

Perth Station and Perth Underground are just a short walk from the RAC Arena for those taking the train, while Perth Busport is also close to the event.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Telethon was an “iconic” event that the McGowan Government was proud to be behind.

“When the idea of ​​holding the Telethon Family Festival in the CBD was first broached with me, there was no doubt in my mind that we needed to use free public transport across the entire network to get families to and from the city, ” she said .

“My message to the community is to leave the car at home, hop on a free bus or train and join the fun.

“To help get people to and from the event we will increase service on the day with more six-car trains operating to get people to and from the city.”

The Telethon also received a $100,000 grant as part of the State Government’s Perth CBD Revitalization Grant Program.

Clown Miss Gail Force, drummer Akiki Shibuya, bus driver Jerry Jenkins and fairy Bronwyn Fox are looking forward to the huge free family festival.
Camera iconClown Miss Gail Force, drummer Akiki Shibuya, bus driver Jerry Jenkins and fairy Bronwyn Fox are looking forward to the huge free family festival. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

“This is a brilliant program about driving life, life and activity, bringing people into our city. It’s a brilliant event for our city,” he said.

Free carnival rides supported by Lotterywest will include the dream swinger, dodgem cars, cup and plate, fiesta balloons and the runaway train.

Apart from food trucks, festival goers can enjoy Coles sausage while watching Rebound WA 3X3 wheelchair basketball among a wide range of festival activities.

The festival would not be possible without the help of Coles, Winning Appliances, Lotterywest, DLGSC, HBF, APM and Early Start Learning, City of Perth and Development WA.

The telethon is all about helping children in need with this year’s Little Stars Ari Phillips, Leo Beazley and Emily Siew set to shine next weekend.

Seven-year-old Ari was just 22 months old when he was diagnosed with the degenerative muscle-wasting condition congenital muscular dystrophy.

Ari has a particularly rare form of the condition, placing him among only 50 cases worldwide. He has never walked, but zooms around in an electric wheelchair. Ari’s mother, Britta, believes he will thrive with all the extra attention that comes with being in the spotlight.

Little Telethon stars Leo Beazley, Ari Phillips and Emily Siew.
Camera iconLittle Telethon stars Leo Beazley, Ari Phillips and Emily Siew. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

“Ari has a lot of energy — he has a lot of angst,” she said. “He tells it like it is, so he’s not going to hide anything.

“He’s a fun little character so I think Perth will love him.”

When Leo failed to meet his developmental milestones, doctors discovered he had the same chromosomal difference that had contributed to his brother Jordan’s death.

It was only recently that further genetic testing revealed that he also had Titin muscular dystrophy, a rare syndrome that causes muscle weakness. One of the seven-year-old’s favorite activities is taking part in Whiz Kidz wheelchair sports in Mirrabooka, run by Telethon recipient Rebound WA.

Last year he handed over $600 to the Telethon, showed up with a plastic bag full of coins and asked if he could give it to sick children. His mother, Natalie, said he was one of the naughtiest kids you’ll ever meet.

“He lights up a room and smiles all the time. Very rarely will you see him cry. He laughs a lot, he loves to tell jokes,” she said.

Eight-year-old Emily was born with hearing loss and has received support from Telethon Speech and Hearing since she was a baby.

But she’s had even more to contend with in her short life – she was also diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of just three. Despite spending so much time in hospital, her mother Eileen Siew said Emily had a remarkably positive outlook on life.

“She is a happy child and takes everything in stride,” she said.

Musician Ella Hooper.
Camera iconMusician Ella Hooper. Credit: Stephanie Pawlowski

Viewers can expect a fantastic line-up of artists for the annual fundraising spectacular. Ricki-Lee, Hoodoo Gurus, Ella Hooper, Human Nature frontman Phil Burton, Normie Rowe, Casey Barnes, Amber Reid, Lachie Gill and Harrison Craig will take to the stage throughout the broadcast.

For Hooper, playing in the Telethon feels like a fitting way to make a difference for families struggling with illness, after a year in which both her parents died of cancer in the same month.

Hooper, who shot to fame as the teenage frontwoman of Killing Heidi in the late 90s, said she was “thrilled to be part of the Telethon this year”.

“I’m always happy to contribute to a good cause, and this is one of the very best,” she said.

“Illness has affected my family a lot this year and helping anyone going through something similar seems like the perfect thing to do. Let’s raise some money!”

Hooper was looking forward to returning to WA – “I love it over there” – and said that even after years of touring, there was “nothing like saddling up a really good band and getting out there and sharing new music”.

WA Ballet and WAAPA are also set to wow audiences over the memorable weekend.

Plus social media sensations Rybka Twins, How Ridiculous, Hannah Balaney and Bailey Pickles will be in attendance.

The audience can expect a roll call of WA’s biggest names including Paralympian and former Little Telethon star Ben Popham, your favorite sports stars and Olympians, Premier Mark McGowan and Premier Anthony Albanese.

“The Telethon is one of the most important events in the WA calendar and I’m really looking forward to taking part,” Albanese told The Sunday Times.

“This is just a wonderful event that is about the community coming together to raise money for a good cause and shows the generosity of West Australians.”

Telethon Family Festival

  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
  • Sunday, October 23
  • Free to participate
  • Free carnival rides
  • Free public transport across WA for the day

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