The National Multicultural Festival is a three day event held in the centre of the city. This year the festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary showcasing the wonderful array of cultures from around the world. This festival has grown each year and in 2015, over 250,000 people came to experience the cultural dancing, parades, hundreds of food stalls, markets and performances at this yearly extravaganza.
Last year our family went to this festival for the first time and it was a wonderful assault on our senses. We weren't expecting the scale of the event - there were over 380 food and market stalls lining both sides of City Walk and then down every side alley and walkway. The smells from these food stalls just took your breath away - Indian, Korean, Fijian, Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, Nepalese...every country was represented in taste and sound. At one stage the smells and smoke from the delicious food stalls overtook a apartment building on City Walk and the fire brigade came through the crowd - much to the delight of the kids!
It is easy to spend all day, every day, at this event. The array of colours, smells and sights are mesmerizing and there is something else to experience around every corner. On the performance stages a variety of cultures display their traditional dancing and customs to the audience, encouraging people to get up and dance. Last year African dancers stamped and sang, Tongan singers sang traditional songs, belly dancers shook their colourful attire and Croatian dancers twirled. In 2016 this will all be happening again, drawing thousand's into the city for these colourful cultural performances.
Wonderful Indonesia. Source: National Multicultural Festival Facebook
As well as cultural performances there will be well-known bands taking the stage across the three days. Performers in 2016 include the reggae tunes of Melbourne's "Sol Nation", Australian rockers "The Old 45s" and the Mexican group "The Three Amigo's Roving Plus 1" - who will get the party started with their version of Bruno Mar's "Uptown Funk".
Headlining the Opening Night Concert will be the "Black Sorrows" who will be singing new songs from their album and are sure to include rock classics "Harley and Rose" and "Chained to the Wheel". More performers will be added to festival lineup daily - see the National Multicultural Festival website for details.
The Black Sorrows. Source: National Multicultural Festival website
For children there is a lot to experience - different food to try, music, balloons, colouring-in, stickers, giveaways and dancing.This family friendly event is a great way to introduce kids to different cultures and learn more about the world that they live in. Look out for kids areas set up around the festival where families can escape from the loud atmosphere outside and go inside for some quiet time to recharge the batteries. When ready to keep exploring, enjoy festival parades and the Belly Dance Spectacular Showcase, with dozens of dance troupes ready to entertain.
Bedazzled Student Group. Source: National Multicultural festival website
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for this event, see details here.
The National Multicultural Festival will be bigger and better for this 20th Birthday celebration. With such a big line-up of entertainment in the day and into the evening, this popular event will bring Canberra together for a weekend of culture and celebration.
To get you in the party mood for this three day spectacular, check out this You Tube video from 2015, by Canberra's ANU Experience.