Shepparton’s multicultural flavour will be celebrated this weekend at the Emerge at Twilight Festival.
By Riahn Smith
The free event is part of the broader Emerge on the Goulburn Festival and provides a platform for new arrival communities to share their culture with the wider community.
It is a joint project between Greater Shepparton City Council and Multicultural Arts Victoria and has grown out of Shepparton’s former Twilight Festival.
Multicultural Arts Victoria artistic program manager Anita Larkin said the festival’s ethos was designed around ‘‘building social cohesion between people of different religious and cultural backgrounds’’.
‘‘There are very significant numbers of people from these communities living in Shepparton now, there’s a real mix of cultures,’’ Ms Larkin said.
‘‘People can often get a feeling of ‘us and them’, so this festival is about breaking down those barriers and giving people a chance to interact . . . and welcome those new communities to Shepparton.’’
The event will showcase ‘‘nonstop music and dance performances’’, foods from across the globe and plenty of activities, including lantern making, henna painting, tribal jewellery making and giant board games.
Ms Larkin said the festival would be full of new experiences, particularly those that involve food.
‘‘There’s quite a lot of stuff people probably have never tried before . . . something they’ve never seen or heard before,’’ Ms Larkin said.
‘‘There’s foods you can’t buy in restaurants in Shepparton, Pacific Islander cuisine, Filipino, Ivory Coast, Turkish food . . . all special, traditional dishes.
‘‘It’s about trying something new and different in their own backyard.’’
Ms Larkin said it was important to recognise the impact migrant communities have had on the region.
‘‘People have brought their talents and contributed to the community,’’ she said.
‘‘Shepparton’s fruit industry, which is so well known, was actually established by migrants, so it’s just about becoming aware of how migrants contribute.’’
The Emerge at Twilight Festival will kick-off on Saturday with youth performances and activities from 4 pm, followed by the family event from 6 pm to 10 pm at Victoria Park Lake.
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