September 24th 2003
Cultural Fest 2003 - Unity In Diversity
A festival of friendship, fun, colour, and diversity! Cultural Fest is an annual event, which, this year, will take place from 17 - 19 October at the Strand Park. The Townsville based Migrant Resource Centre organises this festival with involvement by numerous community and cultural groups from the local region. Last year, a crowd in excess of 5,000 attended the festival.
Cultural Fest 2003 will include musical and dance performances, arts and craft displays, craft making demonstrations, international food stalls and information displays. 65 cultural groups will provide immensely colorful display of the non-stop performances, food stalls and other displays.
Just some of the attractions planned for Cultural Fest 2003 are as follows:
MUSIC, SONG, THEATRE AND DANCE PERFORMANCES ON THE MAIN STAGE
This year, similar to previous years, over 50 performing groups / individuals will deliver the non-stop performances over the three-day festival. Not one of these performing groups are paid for their performance which clearly shows the support the whole community provides to the festival. A large marquee with seating for over 2,000 is set-up in the middle of the Cultural Fest site. In recent years, this marquee remained constantly full plus standing room around its perimeter throughout the duration of the festival.
The Main Stage activities continue non-stop throughout the duration of the festival from Friday night until Sunday night. Professional stage, sound and lighting ensure the smooth delivery of the main stage performances. The calibre of performances last year was very high with performers coming from as far as Sydney, Brisbane, Mt. Isa, Cairns and even Japan and Papua New Guinea.
INTERNATIONAL FOOD STALLS
No other event in North Queensland showcases a more diverse variety of food available for sale. Approximately twenty groups will provide exotic delicacies such as Indian and Thai curries, Samosas, French Crepes, Dutch coffee and many more.
All food stall holders comply with strict health regulations of the Townsville City Council and all have undertaken Food Handling Courses also run by the Townsville City Council. No commercial interests are served in these food stalls, all of which are held by non-profit fundraising community and cultural groups from the region.
The Global Village is a circle of huts set-up at Cultural Fest in which various cultural groups can demonstrate aspects of their culture, sell their arts and crafts and in which members of the community can experience ways of life of other cultures.
This concept of the "Global Village" was implemented for the first time during Cultural Fest 2000 and proved to be a huge success. Twenty-five cultural and community groups participated in decorating individual 'huts' which were constructed out of scaffolding materials joined together to form a circular arena. Each individual hut showcased an aspect of a particular culture which involved displays or interactive activities such as basket weaving, painting, language lessons, drumming etc. One grand arched entrance constructed out of intricately woven coconut leaves and other banners welcomed visitors to the Global Village.
At the centre of the Global Village larger interactive demonstrations were held such as belly dancing workshops, Irish drumming workshops, Greek Zorba dancing, Community Drumming, martial arts exhibition and verbal/visual presentations of people's cultures. The Global Village will also house stalls selling all kinds of traditional crafts such as African Drums, beaded necklaces, bags, musical instruments etc. All these activities proved very popular to both young and old giving the festival an added dimension in which people can take part in hands-on activities.
This year, the Global Village will also house a number of information stalls presented by various community organisations.
Similar to previous years, a Citizenship Ceremony will take place on Saturday morning, 18th October, during which the Mayor of the City of Townsville will officiate the presentation of Certificates of Citizenship to new citizens.
Cultural Fest not only celebrates the contributions of many migrants who have come to Australia - it also celebrates the many Indigenous cultures which have been present on this land for thousands of years.
The Reconciliation Concert features various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander as well as other cultural performing groups.
WORLD CUP SOCCER
The competition for the much coveted Cultural Fest Soccer World Cup has been active for the past few years between many cultural groups. Last year, 16 teams competed four weeks before the festival with the Grand Finals held the weekend immediately prior to the festival. The teams who competed were El Salvador, Ireland, New Zealand, Indigeroos, Scotland, Norway, Islanders, United Nations, Netherlands, Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, International United, France.
Cultural Fest truly is a family event and it is with this in mind that a large marquee is set-up at Cultural Fest where children can take part in many cultural activities. This has proven very popular in recent years with hundreds of children taking part.
Other attractions to the Cultural Fest include Cent Sale, Raffles, Roving Performers and much much more!
The first Cultural Fest in this form was organised in 1995. The theme of "Many Cultures, One Nation" was adopted and later changed to "Unity in Diversity". During the past six years many individuals, community organisations, cultural groups and church organisations and government agencies have been tirelessly involved in supporting, developing and promoting Cultural Fest. In 1997 and 1999 the Cultural Fest won the award for "Event of the Year" presented by the Townsville City Council.
Its message is that cultural diversity and the desire for racial harmony is very much alive and active in this region as part of the normal social commitment and interaction. Cultural Fest 2003 like many other Cultural Fests in the past demonstrates this reality; that respect for human rights, racial harmony, commitment for reconciliation and taking pride in the Australian multicultural life that thousands of people of this region stand for.
Townsville City Council
Living In Harmony Grant DIMIA
Department of the Premier and Cabinet Qld, Gov