24th Oct, 2019
DIVERSITAT PAKO FESTA – CELEBRATING CULTURAL DIVERSITY FOR 37 YEARS
Pako Festa 2020
Saturday 29 February 9am-5pm
Pakington Street, Geelong West
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 2019 (37 years later), over 110,000 people attended, 5,000 people took part in the street parade and 5,000 people 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. Managed by Diversitat and held on the last weekend of February in Pakington Street, Geelong West, “the multicultural heart of Geelong”, it incorporates an extravagant street parade featuring around ninety floats and hundreds of performers representing forty-five affiliated ethnic communities and other local community groups, schools and organisations. The street is lined with stalls selling traditional foods and arts and crafts, and six separate stages in the precinct offer performances of music and dance as well as interactive workshops and exhibitions.
Pako Festa offers a unique opportunity for those 100,000-plus participants to socialise and celebrate in an arena of ethnic diversity and harmony, as well as gaining an appreciation of the great variety of artistic and cultural expression within Geelong’s multicultural community.
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 37-year history. Since its inception the event continues to be a major event on the community calendar, and in 2020 Pako Festa celebrates 38 years of operation on Saturday 29 February from 9am-5pm. The Pako Festa has a thematic approach and the theme for 2020 is: Elements of Culture; with a focus on Cultural Food, Traditional Costumes and Folkloric Dance and Music.
You can expect to sample 22 local diverse cuisines; the smells and sounds will take you to another world. Pako Festa offers FREE entertainment for the entire family across 6 performances and of course not to mention the great Pako Festa parade starting at 11am with spectacular colour, movement and creativity from around the globe. Local community groups involved in the event are contributing to the street parade, cooking up a storm or performing on the event day. Local Communities represented include: Afghan, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Fijian, Filipino, French, Greek, Hazara, Hungarian, Indonesian, Iranian, Irish, Iraqi, Italian, Japanese, Karen, Karenni, Lao Thai, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Maitri, Maori, Nepalese, Nigerian, Polish, Russian, Scottish (Highland), Serbian Youth Club, Serbian St Nicholas, Slovenian, Spanish, Sikh, Syriac, Ukrainian and Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op.
Pako Festa also offers FREE activities for children, starting at 11am don’t miss the Great Pako Festa Street Parade full of colour and music for all the family to enjoy! Then head to the Geelong West Town Hall the Family Entertainment Precinct to enjoy a diverse program of non-stop family entertainment featuring dancers, music and circus themed workshops and performances from 12.30-4pm. Visit the stall holders in the street for more free activities or locate a chill out zone to rehydrate and rest your weary feet!
The 2020 Pako Festa is delivered by Diversitat and is supported by The Victorian State Government, Victorian Multicultural Commission and the City of Greater Geelong. In addition, it could not be delivered without the support of the Pakington Street Traders, the local diverse communities and many other local and non-local organisations and businesses.
Pako Festa continues to offer overwhelming participation and exploration of culture, place and person. As a great ambassador of multiculturalism, Pako Festa encourages understanding, tolerance and acceptance of the social and cultural diversity in the midst of our community. Most importantly, it promotes co-operation, sharing and improvement of inter-community relations and is a major fundraiser for the local CALD communities.
Come and join us at Pako Festa and most importantly share in the enriching connections of community and culture. To keep up to date on all the 2020 activities and the full program visit www.pakofesta.com.au and facebook