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Cross Bondi Beach with Latin American fiesta this month and what do you get? Bondiesta - a fusion of vibrant colours, pulsating rhythms, tangy flavours, traditional crafts, and Aussie sun and sand. All things Latin American will be on show at the famous Bondi Pavilion on Sunday 12 February as Bondiesta salsas and sambas its way into the late Summer spotlight.
The festival, formerly known as the South American Festival, has been tweaked here and there, rebranded and relaunched this year as Bondiesta. It has a long partnership with Waverly Council and the Bondi Pavilion, itself known as the "Playground of the Pacific" in the 1930s, and now one of Sydney's most sought after leisure and entertainment venues.
This year's theme and dress code is "Tropical, Vibrant Colours and Exotic Allure" so men, don't be afraid to drag out that fire engine red shirt you received five Christmases ago from your grandmother, and ladies, trawl through your jewellery boxes for your biggest and brightest beads and Eighties earrings - you'll fit right in.
Time: 1pm to 8.30 pm Venue: Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach.
Bands Latin rhythms are very popular at the moment and Bondiesta will have some of Australia's best exponents on stage. Featured bands include Club Havana Band (aka La Bomba De Sydney), Canberra's Mi Tierra (winners of Australia's first national Latin band contest), Brazil Australia Band and Tribalisimo, supported by DJs Don Juan and MC Rafa, Dwight chocolate Escobar, Johnny Gleeson and Av El Cubano.
Dance Dancers, including Rhythm Brazil, will perform throughout the day. Free dance workshops will also be available for anyone who wants to try their hand at Salsa, Zumba or Tango.
Wander through the myriad of art and craft stalls to get a real sense of the culture and history of these vibrant lands, through their intricate tapestries, stylish leatherwork and beautiful jewellery. There will even be costume and instrument making workshops. You're probably familiar with bongos and maracas, but keep an eye out for Puerto Rican guiros (notched guords played by rubbing them with a wooden stick) or Andean charangos (a type of lute traditionally made from an armadillo shell).
Food stalls will offer a feast for all the senses, with foods from across South and Latin America. I can personally vouch for the smoky sensation of the Argentinian parilla or barbecue.
"Rio in Bondi", an exhibition of photographs of Rio de Janiero by Emmanuelle Bernard, is being held in conjunction with Bondiesta in the Pavilion Art Gallery. It runs from 7 to 26 February and entry is free.
Tickets Pre-purchased tickets are $25 Adult and $15 Concession (plus booking fee) and are available through Eventix here or by phoning 1300 737 363. Children under 12 are admitted free. If not sold out before the event Tickets will be on sale at the door for $30 Adults and $20 Concession.
I bet you can smell the barbecues and feel your hips swaying already. Once you've finished at Bondiesta why not head across to Bondi Openair Cinema for some true blue Aussie entertainment with the screening of Red Dog?