Those at the inaugural St George's Rd Food Festival in Shepparton were treated to delicacies of other nationalities in a friendly atmosphere.JARROD WHITTAKER May 19, 2014 3:58am
Mezhgan Alizadah, Aziz Jafari and Rana Jafari tend to the chicken, lamb and beef skewers at St George's Rd Food Festival.
The rich aroma of foods spanning three continents filled the air in St George’s Rd yesterday at an event which showcased Shepparton’s ethnic diversity.
The St George’s Rd Food Festival showcased cuisine from a range of cultures that make up the Shepparton community.
Festival visitors were treated to a smorgasbord of food, in styles including Indian, Afghani, Sudanese and Australian Indigenous.
The event also included music and dance performances, multicultural food product stalls and henna painting.
During the event, St George’s Rd was closed between Hayes and Swallow Sts to allow people to wander freely between the stalls and businesses located on the shopping strip.
Festival co-ordinator Fiona Smolenaars said she was pleased with the event, which attracted about 1500 people.
‘‘That was the thing when we designed it was to revolve around food, because everyone’s got to eat,’’ Ms Smolenaars said.
‘‘It’s a good chance for people to interact around food and get a better understanding of the different cultures and nationalities.’’
The idea behind the festival was to give Shepparton’s multicultural community an opportunity to showcase their cuisine while breaking down barriers.
Ms Smolenaars said the festival also included a soccer match comprising mixed teams of community members and police and emergency services workers.
‘‘I think by interacting like that it helps to break down barriers,’’ she said.
The event received strong support from St George’s Rd traders, who Ms Smolenaars said were ‘‘really keen from the get-go’’.
Among the traders to get involved in the festival was Sweet House Cafe owner Hasan Hasmien.
Mr Hasmien said the festival went ‘‘beautifully’’.
‘‘Everybody’s happy here, they’re enjoying it,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m enjoying it as well and all the best to everybody in Shepparton.’’
Ms Hasmien said his coffee and selection of Middle Eastern sweets from nations such as Lebanon, Kuwait and Egypt were popular with customers.
Festivalgoer Maree Crawley said the event was ‘‘fantastic’’.
‘‘This is just what Shepparton needs to bring us all together and showcase their food — I love it,’’ she said.
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