The beloved celebration will not be held at its traditional Pakington Street location, instead moving to Norlane in 2022.
Every year in one place, on one day, Pakington street comes alive with an abundance of colour, unique costumes, live music, street performers, multicultural food, and traditional dancing in celebration of Geelong’s diverse mix of cultures with people from all walks of life. That’s right, we’re talking about Pako Festa – the largest free celebration of cultural diversity in Australia, deeply reflects Geelong’s uniting community spirit.
Following the year that was, the beloved festival will be looking a little different this year, with Diversitat, a not-for-profit association, revealing a brand-new temporary location for the festival’s 40th iteration, due to new COVID-19 regulations and vaccination requirements.
Building on from last year’s reimagined festival hub format, next year’s Pako Festa will be presented as one big event at the Diversitat Northern Community Hub on Saturday, February 26 2022.
While this means we won’t be seeing the sparkling street parade (well, not as we know it anyway), all the key elements that we love about Pako Festa’s celebration of diversity remain, including an offering of global food from a bunch of Geelong’s diverse ethnic communities.
“We are planning one big event at the Diversitat Northern Community Hub,” the social post read.
“The huge celebration will stay true to everything Pako Festa is all about – bringing people together to celebrate the dress, music, dance, language, art, food of the many cultures that call Geelong home.
“We can’t wait to get the event back to Pakington Street – hopefully in 2023 – as soon as the regulations and restrictions ease, we intend to bring it back to its original location.
“Change is inevitable these days and with Covid-19 and vaccinations playing a key role in public-facing events, we need to ensure that safety is our number one priority for all event patrons. We value the support and guidance the State and Local Government has provided in helping us to present a community safe event.
“Until we can bring it home to Pakington Street, we will make the most of this new opportunity for Pako Festa to be in this fantastic new location.”
Within the single hub, local community groups will represent the culture and cuisine of their homelands with lovingly prepared home-cooked food. From Nepalese style BBQ chicken, Thai crispy pork toast, spicy Croatian sausages, and Polish pierogi, to traditional Filipino beef Kaldereta (stew), Dutch Rookworst, Greek-style lamb souvlaki, Bangladeshi chicken biriyani, Ukrainian dumplings, and Japanese Teriyaki Salmon Don, you’ll find something to savour and enjoy.
Food purchases will be available online (where credit card payments and a 20% discount will be available) and on the day.
In lieu of the street parade, which usually sees Pakington street comes alive with an abundance of colour and unique costumes in celebration of Geelong’s diverse mix of cultures with people from all walks of life, next year’s event will feature a large stage with a ‘traditional costume catwalk’ to allow communities to proudly show off their colourful cultures.
The indoor and outdoor event will be free to attend, but all attendees will be required to be vaccinated in compliance with government requirements.
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Also, in celebration of the 40th Pako Festa, 40 portraits featuring Geelong’s diverse communities will be hung in Market Square as a free public exhibition while a limited-edition cookbook is also in the works to celebrate the event’s 40th birthday.
As soon as regulations and restrictions ease, Pako Festa will return to its original location.
For more information visit pakofesta.com.au.