Billed as having attitude and breaking conventions, the annual Fremantle Street Arts Festival did not disappoint.

More than 100,000 people visited the port city at the Easter weekend to catch a variety of acts, ranging from a contortionist showing off his tennis racquet skills to dinosaur-like creatures roaming the streets.

Fremantle Street Festival performer Alakazam.Picture: Mogens Johansen

Festival director Alex Marshall said this year's street theatre festival – which had its origins in the city's busking culture – was the best ever, with 22 acts from around the world keen to show off their skills.

Crowd numbers were up on last year and although the perfect weather certainly helped, people were mainly attracted to the diversity and quality of the festival's program, Mr Marshall said.

Eleven of the acts made their Australian premiere in Fremantle during the three-day festival.

The event had drawn artists from around the world since it started 15 years ago, Mr Marshall said.

Performers who had visited in previous years were so impressed by the festival that they had spread the word overseas.

"It's the only festival of its kind in the country ... it's all shows that are made to be performed in outside," he said.

"Fremantle has been a place for many years where buskers and street performers have chosen to work and it's really part of the fabric of Fremantle.

"In the early years of the festival we expanded on what was already here, so we had lots of jugglers and acrobats that were popular, but over the years we've wanted to extend the experience for the public and present work that they wouldn’t expect to see in the streets."

What was initially limited to South Terrace has now grown so popular that it has extended to the harbour, the west end and Victoria Quay on a budget of less than $500,000.

"We even had a show in the water at the fishing boat harbour and at the prison," Mr Marshall said.

"This festival is tailor-made for this city – it's come out of the culture here."

The West Australian

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