WA Day celebrates the arrival of the first European settlers and the founding of the Swan River Colony under Captain James Stirling on June 1, 1829. Originally called Foundation Day, the public holiday was renamed in 2012 under a bipartisan agreement to recognise Aboriginal people as the state’s traditional landowners. The public holiday marks the first weekend of winter, but there are plenty of festivities organised by Celebrate WA to brighten up the season’s blues.

Western Australian of the Year Awards

The annual Western Australian of the Year Awards are announced at a gala dinner at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on the Friday evening and traditionally kick off the long-weekend festivities. Each year the awards recognise the achievements of some of the state’s top performers across seven categories, culminating in the crowning of the Western Australian of the Year. Previous winners include indigenous writer Professor Kim Scott and mining entrepreneur David Flanagan.

Perth International Jazz Festival

The three-day Perth jazz festival also starts on Friday, drawing an esteemed line-up of local, national and international performers to the WA capital for your listening pleasure. Renowned jazz bassist Richard Bona, aka African Sting, headlined the 2015 event, which included 52 performances across 19 venues. The fledgling festival is growing every year and has been named among Australia’s top seven jazz events, so grab yourself a gig guide, sit back, relax and let the long weekend festivities bring music to your ears.

State of the Art Festival

If you fancy a bit more variety in your musical repertoire, the State of the Art Festival (SOTA) is your kind of gig. Held at the Perth Cultural Centre, the Saturday-only festival packs in multiple stages and a range of musical styles to ensure revellers get fantastic bang for their buck. Traditionally a great showcase of local talent, the festival has previously included headline acts such as Birds of Tokyo and You Am I. The precinct also includes a free entertainment zone for those on a budget, and a food truck market to quell grumbling tummies after a session in the mosh pit.

Come Out & Play  

It’s not just the grown ups who get to have fun, at Come Out & Play little West Australians take centre stage with a host of activities and entertainment designed to keep the whole family amused. The Monday celebrations are also hosted by the Perth Cultural Centre, and in previous years have featured interactive art activities, pedal car racing, circus skills, a paper plane throwing competition and live performances. And it’s not just city dwellers who can participate, sister events are held in Albany, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Geraldton and Port Hedland. Best of all they’re free.