23 August, 2023
Cultures from around the world to unite at festival
CULTURES hailing from near and far that make up the vibrant tapestry of the Mareeba Shire will take centre stage this weekend for the annual Mareeba Multicultural Festival.
With a lineup of 30 stalls and more than 20 performances, different culture groups are set to share their traditional dances and food with visitors to the popular event, with hundreds expected to flock to Arnold Park for the day.
Multicultural Festival committee chair Cr Mary Graham said those attending were in for a day filled with colourful outfits, music and delicious food.
“The Mareeba Shire is home to people from over 75 different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, and the festival celebrates this diversity, and harmony,” she said.
“The Mareeba Multicultural Festival is a significant event in the local calendar providing rich opportunities for social interaction, between local and visiting attendees, volunteers, performers, and stall holders.
“The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere means that people of diverse cultural backgrounds feel comfortable to attend and participate.
“Whether it is your first festival, or fifteenth, come along and join the celebration.”
Breaking new ground, the Mareeba State High School Pasifika Pride dance group will make their debut, representing the Pacific, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia through dance and song.
The ensemble was brought together only months ago under the guidance of dance teacher Jenna Alba-Aue, who saw a need for students to immerse themselves in traditional cultural dances and melodies.
“Pasifika Pride was established as a safe space at school to help develop knowledge of cultures because Mareeba is such a multicultural community,” she said.
“From the beginning, the seed was planted to be in the community (and perform at the festival) and we had some practice runs performing at the variety show and on school parades.
“Their peers really enjoyed the experience and it’s great to showcase all their hard work.
“I am very excited and extremely proud. All of the girls are from mixed cultures, but they have really taken on board the Cook Islander culture and its teachings with so much confidence and respect.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Folk Dance group, true trailblazers of the event, will grace the festival for yet another year, marking their enduring legacy.
The quartet comprising Mercy Garcia-Fraser, Rose Vallier, Andrea Woffenden and Marlene Cotterill will impress festival goers with their traditional dances and an array of authentic culinary delights at their stall.
The festival is set to kick off this Saturday 26 August from 10am at Arnold Park. Entry to the event is free.