If you haven't been to Canberra's National Multicultural Festival, then prepare yourself for a huge event - so big that it literally takes over the centre of the CBD for 3 days. Roads are blocked off, over 300 international food stalls are set up, stages are erected and the party starts - and lasts all weekend. This year, there is even more to celebrate as it is the festivals' 21st birthday and Australian artist Kate Ceberano will be headlining the opening concert. Held between the 17th - 19th February, this is sure to be a 21st birthday party to remember.
In previous years, over 250,000 people have descended on the city for this three day festival. There is a positive and exciting "vibe" around the city, as all nationalities come together to celebrate the variety of cultures that live in the Capital. On stage, watch traditional African dancers stamp and sing, Indian belly dancers shake, Croatian dancers twirl and hear national songs from all over the world. For an A - Z list of all the performers you will see on stage, see here.
The popularity of the National Multicultural Festival. Source: National Multicultural Festival website
As well as the range of entertainment, the festival is a multicultural smorgasbord, with food stalls lined up along City Walk, Garema Place and all the side streets along the way. Bring your appetite to this event, or come back more than once over the weekend and try a variety of international food. Choose between Asian hot curries, tasty Spanish Paella's, coconut infused Pacific dishes, delicious kebabs and a host of international dishes that you may not of even heard of before.
This family-friendly event has a lot to offer for kids of all ages with different food to try, music, balloons, colouring-in, stickers, giveaways and dancing. This festival is a great way for kids to learn about the different countries, cultures and foods of the world. There will also be kids areas set up around the festival, where families can escape from the loud atmosphere and go inside for some quiet time to recharge the batteries.
Watch other kids up on stage. Source: National Multicultural Festival website
Friday, 17th February - is when the opening concert kicks off the festival, with crowd favourite Kate Cebrano and a host of bands rocking the stage. The evening begins at 4pm and continues on until midnight - see here for all the details closer to the date.
Saturday, 18th February - the festival fun begins at 11am and continues on until midnight, on the biggest day of the festival. Saturday will feature many varied and exciting showcases including the renowned Food and Dance Spectacular, the Latin Quarter & American Experience, the Malaysian Village, Pacific Island Showcase, African Village, India in the City, the Indigenous Showcase and the vibrant and exciting Carnivale. There will also be the The Fringe area, with kids entertainment on Saturday afternoon and adult entertainment by night.
Sunday, 19th February - is a shorter day, starting at 11am and finishing at 5pm. Enjoy a tasty lunch from the food stalls, listen to live entertainment all day and experience the Greek Glendi and Chinese Spring Festival, plus much more. For all the details and program for the 3 days, see here.
Whichever day you choose to visit the festival, or even if you go for all three days, there will be something new to discover around every corner. Try new foods, learn about different countries, meet new people and experience the colour and excitement of the National Multicultural Festival for 2017. You won't find anyone having a better time than here.
Colombian Cultural & Folkloric Organisation. Source: National Multicultural Festival website