Pako Festa, the largest free multi-cultural celebration of diversity in Australia returns to Geelong on Saturday February 24 for an all-day program of exhibitions, events, entertainment and food, representing 35 international communities living within our region.
Pako Festa is a unique, colourful annual event celebrating Geelong’s (and Australia’s) diverse mix of cultures and our deep community spirit. Attracting over 100,000 spectators and participants, this huge street party event is hosted by Diversitat, a locally based, not-for-profit association, representing 40 affiliated ethnic groups and over 60,000 people of non-English speaking background in the Geelong region.
Held each year on the last Saturday of February, in Geelong’s ‘multicultural heart Pakington Street, Pako Festa is an outdoor spectacular like no other and this year is celebrating its 36th birthday. The street is blocked off to traffic all day, with an enormous street parade starting at 11am, featuring around 80 floats representing Geelong’s diverse cultural mix. After the parade, the street becomes a huge alfresco dining strip with a myriad of traditional international foods on offer. The local West Park is dotted with food vans and marquees serving home-made food from local community groups and local retailers and cafes are also open, along with numerous pop-up market stalls, adding to the festive carnival atmosphere.
Celebrating the rich cultural diversity of Geelong
In 2018, some 36 separate ethnic community groups will come together to celebrate culture, place and people at Pako Festa: Afghan, Bosnian, Chinese, Croatian, Congolese, Dutch, Fijian, Filipino, French, Greek, Hazara, Hungarian, Indonesian, Iranian, Irish, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Karen, Karenni, Lao Thai, Liberian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Maori, Matri, Nigerian, Nepalese, Polish, Scottish, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, South Sudanese, Tibetan, Ukrainian and Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op. In addition to the ethnic communities, a further 50 local community groups such as schools, social clubs, music groups and bands and sports clubs support and participate in this event.
Free entertainment for the whole family
Pako Festa is on from 9am – 5pm, with loads of entertainment for the entire family. The spectacular Pako Festa parade starts at 11am with colourful costumes, music, dance and entertainment from around the globe.
Free entertainment will be hosted on six different stages including live music from around the world, cultural dance performances, authentic costumes, community arts, exhibitions and interactive workshops, plus dedicated children’s activities and entertainment precincts.
The 2018 event will come to end end to the sounds of Cariño Son on the Diversitat Stage from 5.15pm, a six-piece Latin band playing traditional Cuban Guarachas, Son and Boleros. Their infectious rhythms and melodies will have people dancing till 6pm. The lineup consists of double bass, congas, bongos, guitar and très, saxophone, vocals and percussion.
A full program of events and activities, as well as road closures and parking information is available at www.pakofesta.com.au
The 2018 Diversitat Pako Festa is delivered by Diversitat and supported by major sponsors The Victorian State Government, Victorian Multicultural Commission, Channel 7 and the City of Greater Geelong.
The participation and support of many other local and non-local organisations and businesses is integral to its success and their help is gratefully acknowledged by Pako Festa organisers.