Pako Festa adopts a new look format and venue for 2022!


Diversitat has announced the new and exciting format of Pako Festa for 2022, with the location for the event being moved from Pakington Street to the Northern Community Hub.

The event held on 26 February 2022, will mark the 40th anniversary of Pako Festa and will include the traditional food stalls, a celebration of diverse cultures, entertainment galore and a new twist on the traditional parade.

According to Diversitat CEO, Joy Leggo, having one big celebration with everyone together in one location for one big party is the perfect way to celebrate the 40th Pako Festa.

“We are thrilled to mix things up next year and offer a new twist on what has always proven to be a very successful public event for Geelong. Next year we will feature a large stage with a ‘traditional costume catwalk’ to allow our communities to proudly show off their colourful cultures to the wider communities of Geelong.” Ms Leggo said.

“We are thrilled about hosting this event at its new location as it opens up a myriad of possibilities! The format for this ‘new look’ event strikes the right balance – it’s one big celebration at a key site for Geelong’s diverse communities, while still ensuring that we can run a safe event that complies with all state government requirements,” Ms Leggo said.

The Northern Community Hub is a significant location for Geelong’s diverse communities, with the Commonwealth Government establishing the British Migrant Hostel on the site in mid-1940s. The site accommodated migrants from many different nationalities and was soon renamed as the ‘Norlane Hostel’, with the site acting as a temporary home to thousands of migrants in the 1950s and 1960s.

“In many ways, we see this as Pako Festa returning home, back to a significant site for Geelong’s diverse communities and a location that allows us many possibilities,” Ms Leggo said.

“Our plans are still being finalised, and we are working very closely with the state government and ensuring our event format is flexible to adapt to COVID restrictions as they change.”

“People won’t need to book online to attend the event, and as always, Pako Festa is a free community event,” Ms Leggo said.

Key Event Details

• 40th Pako Festa to be held at the Diversitat Northern Community Hub, 40-42 Arunga Ave Norlane on 26 February 2022
• Event will feature global food, culture, performances and a new take on the parade format featuring a stage with a catwalk
• The event will be free to attend, but all attendees will be required to be vaccinated in compliance with government requirements
• To mark the 40th Pako Festa, 40 portraits featuring Geelong’s diverse communities will be hung in Market Square as a free public exhibition
• The arts trail in Pakington Street will return for 2022

Pako Festa is also creating an iconic, limited-edition cookbook to celebrate the event’s 40th birthday, featuring some of the most popular dishes from Geelong’s diverse communities served at Pako Festa since 1983.

The hard copy cookbook is available to purchase from the Pako Festa website at, as part of a ‘Friends of the Festa’ membership offering, which allows individuals and organisations to show their support for the not-for-profit event.

For more information visit

Diversitat’s Pako Festa lights up the Geelong West Town Hall


Pako Festa lights up the Geelong West Town Hall, displaying the projections for the first time. Photo: Matt Houston

Pako Festa has turned on its Geelong West Town Hall projections for the first time in front of 80 ethnic community representatives and Geelong community leaders.

The COVIDSafe projections replace the traditional Pako Festa parade this year, and will run each night from 8:30pm – 11:30pm, starting 27 February until 13 March.

The 20-minute audio-visual display produced by local projection artist Matt Bonner showcases 30 people from local ethnic communities in the form of iconic portraits taken by local photographer Chrissie Francis.

As each portrait is displayed, event-goers will hear the person in the picture explaining the significance of their national dress and what their culture means to them.

The projections were opened by Geelong MP Christine Couzens, and the welcome to country was done by Wadawurrung woman Corrina Eccles who is featured as one of the portraits.

The Geelong community is invited to come down to the Geelong West Town Hall each night to experience the projections, which will run on a continuous loop during the three hours each night.

The projections are sponsored by Xtreme Technology and the Committee for Geelong.

Committee for Geelong CEO Jennifer Cromarty said that the organisation was proud to partner with Pako Festa this year.

“Congratulations to Pako Festa organisers who have pivoted this year to present multicultural food offerings in a COVID safe format, with the addition of the creative and artistic storytelling of cultural diversity through the projections at Geelong West Town Hall,” Ms Cromarty said.

“The Committee for Geelong has a strong commitment to community and believes our best future includes everyone.”

“Geelong’s future needs to recognise and acknowledge our history, culture and identity including Wadawurrung Traditional Owner’s heritage as well as our diverse multicultural community.”

“The Committee for Geelong is also supporting a Leaders for Geelong project that will develop a Pako Festa Online Educational Tool to continue our historical storytelling for generations to come.”

Pako Festa is sponsored by the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Geelong.

Pako Festa opens online bookings


The Indonesian community will be serving up dishes like Nasi Goreng and Gado Gado at Pako Festa 2021 Photo: Matt Houston

The Indonesian community will be serving up dishes like Nasi Goreng and Gado Gado at Pako Festa 2021  Photo: Matt Houston

Online bookings have opened for Pako Festa’s 2021 global food offering, which will showcase the cuisine of 19 of Geelong’s ethnic communities across 13 locations.

Place your booking online now

The food offering is part of Pako Festa’s new format, which sees the much-loved local event change after 38 years due to COVID-19.

Traditional street vendors in Pakington Street will be replaced with a broader offering of dine-in and takeaway food across a number of different locations.

Locations will feature cultural displays and a program of entertainment.

Event-goers are invited to place takeaway or dine-in orders at, where they can browse the locations and menu items on offer from each of the 19 participating ethnic community groups.

Event Director Luisa LaFornara said that the local ethnic community groups were looking forward to showcasing their cuisines in the new format.

“We hear time and time again how much people enjoy the multicultural food at Pako Festa each year, so we are delighted that we can continue to offer this for people to enjoy in 2021 in a COVIDSafe way,” Ms LaFornara said.

“We need people to pre-book online for a few reasons – it allows us to stagger the arrival times and control numbers, facilitate contact tracing if required and to send out COVIDSafe information to patrons prior to the event as required by the government,” she said.

Timeslots are available for 27 February 2021 from 10:30am-4pm.

With numbers limited in each timeslot at each location, event-goers are urged to book early at to avoid disappointment.

For COVIDSafe reasons, event-goers can only dine-in at one location, but can book takeaway orders at as many different locations as they like.

Proceeds raised from all online food purchases will be donated back to the ethnic communities, helping to ensure the ongoing sustainability of these communities.

Pako Festa announces exciting new format for February 2021 event


Photo credit: Matt Houston Photography

Diversitat has today announced the details of the format for Pako Festa 2021, to be held on 27 February.

The new format has been developed for the hugely popular event, which is changing after 38 years due to COVID-19.

Despite the new format, the key elements that Geelong people love about Pako Festa’s celebration of diversity remain, including an offering of global food from 19 of Geelong’s diverse ethnic communities.

To ensure a COVIDSafe event, the event will run beyond Pakington Street, taking in a total of 13 sites across Geelong who will offer a mix of dine-in and takeaway food offerings and a program of entertainment.

All guests will be required to pre-book their Pako Festa experience online, choosing their preferred location and time across the day from 10:30am-4pm to ensure that social distancing limits can be maintained and to ensure that contact tracing can occur if required.

Numbers will be limited for the various times at each site in accordance with the guidelines of health authorities.

Guests will be able to place takeaway food orders at as many sites as they wish, but due to COVID restrictions will be only able to dine-in at one location.

Bookings will open on the Pako Festa website ( from early February, and event-goers are urged to book early to avoid disappointment.

Taking the place of a parade this year will be a more COVIDSafe offering of night projections on the Geelong West Town Hall at 153 Pakington Street, offering a rich audio-visual experience that features 30 diverse communities and an intimate insight into each culture.

To encourage social distancing, the projections will run from 8:30pm on 27 February, but will also continue to run each night over two weeks until 13 March to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience this incredible display in a safe way.

The projections will feature the work of local projection artist Matt Bonner, who is transforming 30 community portraits captured by local photographer Chrissie Francis into an amazing display sponsored by Xtreme Technology and the Committee for Geelong.

Pako Festa will also showcase the work of professional and emerging local artists and local schools in the form of an ‘Elements of Culture Arts Trail’ along Pakington Street between Gordon Ave and Church Street.

The works will feature in shop windows from 27 February – 27 March, taking participants on a journey along the street to discover a diverse selection of artwork and local businesses.

The Elements of Culture Art Trail is supported by SCTechnology and Pakington Street Traders.

The 2021 Pako Festa is delivered by Diversitat and supported by the Victorian Government and The City of Greater Geelong.

It could not be delivered without the support of the local ethnic communities, The Committee for Geelong, TAC, Xtreme Technology and the Pakington Street Traders Association.

Pako Festa Reimagined


Pako Festa 2021

Saturday 27 February

A reimagined Pako Festa 2021

Saturday 27 February

Pako Festa dates back to 1983, when the Ethnic Communities Council Inc. got together with Geelong West Traders and Geelong West City Council with an ambitious idea for a community-driven party that celebrated the region’s diverse cultural communities. Much has changed since 1983. The very first Pako attracted 12,000 people and ended with a tug of war! In 2020 (38 years later), over 110,000 people attended, 5,000 people took part in the street parade and performed across five performance stages.

These days the festival is organised by Diversitat and has grown into one of the largest free multi-arts and cultural party. Some things remain the same. Pako is about community and is led by community. The event celebrates and highlights the extraordinary contribution of individuals, cultural groups and multicultural communities in Geelong and across the region.

Pako Festa, is Geelong’s much loved, award-winning, free, annual community street festival – the biggest of its kind in Australia. A very important aspect of Pako Festa is in its provision for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities to continue to affirm and honour their contributions to Pako Festa over its 38-year history. Since its inception the event continues to be a major event on the community calendar.

We anticipate a broader event for 2021 across more locations in Geelong than just Pakington Street, but still with the traditional cultural food offerings, music and displays. The Pako Festa message of diversity, togetherness and inclusion is more important now than ever before.

The reimaged event, starting on the 27th Feb runs until the end of March, themed “Elements of Culture”, will focus on cultural food, traditional costumes, music, entertainment, art installations and night projections.

The 2021 Pako Festa is delivered by Diversitat and is supported by The Victorian State Government and the City of Greater Geelong. In addition, it cannot be delivered without the support of the local diverse communities, the Pakington Traders and many other local and non-local organisations and businesses.

Come and join us at Pako Festa and most importantly discover and share the enriching connections of community and culture. To keep up to date on the 2021 event and the full program of activities visit and facebook

Pako Festa Event Director Luisa La Fornara:

“COVID-19 is a very fluid situation and we continue to work very closely with the authorities and the Geelong ethic communities to create an event that is appropriate for where things will be in February 2021.”

“At this stage, we anticipate a broader event across more locations in Geelong than just Pakington Street, but still with the usual cultural food offerings, music and displays.”

“We are also considering night projections and online content to further enhance the event.”

“We can’t wait to announce more details as soon as they’re available.”

Diversitat Acting CEO Brian McMahon:

“We know that 2020 has been a tough year for Geelong, which is why we’re determined to make Pako Festa 2021 a major event – we feel the Pako Festa message of diversity, togetherness and inclusion is more important now than ever before.”

“We’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support of the City of Greater Geelong and the Victorian government.”

“We thank them for their ongoing support of the event and our vision.”

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