Wow what a party! The annual Pako Festa held on West Geelong’s cosmopolitan leafy Pakington Street every February attracts around 100,000 people. It’s no wonder why Pako Festa is so much fun and one of the best things on Geelong’s event calendar.
The festival is a huge celebration of everything multicultural, from the official welcoming with the traditional owners of much of our region, the Wathaurong People, to the 60 or more community and ethnic groups. The colour and fun of the day is like nothing else.
The morning sees a huge street parade where hundreds of people from the four corners of our blue planet put on their best national dress, pull out their national instruments and parade down Pakington street much to the amazement of the thousands watching. The colours and sounds are incredible. It’s hard to imagine any other place on earth where so many ethnic groups come together as one and celebrate together.
The much loved West Geelong Fire Brigade finish the parade which signals the nearly invisible transformation of Pakington Street into a huge food and culture carnival. Dozens of tents sell some of the tastiest food ever seen. There are pastas, curries, stir fry’s, spices and food from just about everywhere on earth. Even the humble but tasty Aussie sausage gets a look in. Amongst the great food many of the cultural groups have stalls selling traditional items and have plenty of information on their countries and membership to their groups.
National dance groups perform on stages throughout the precinct. You may see the Dutch clog dancers, Filipino dance troops, Greek dancing or even some magnificent Thai dancing all in traditional costumes. There’s always plenty of roaming entertainment and then there’s the music. You might come across a Mexican band, then a few meters up the road African Drummers followed by a Croatian band or a good old fashioned Aussie bush band.
The festival stretches over a kilometre and takes in not only Pakington Street but some of the side car parks, public squares and parklands. The event even stretches into many businesses and of course the great Pakington Street pubs of the Petrel Hotel and Barking Dog.
The Pako Festa plays with all your senses, your smell, your eyes, your ears, the works. The event is an amazing unique day with a melting pot of cultures and fun for the whole family. The festival has ran annually since 1983 and is one of our premier events. We don’t know how they do it but each year the festival gets bigger and better.
The Pako Festa is a testament to the fact that people of all walks of life and from the far reaches of the world can all get on and live happily together. The rest of the world should take note of the rewards the Pako Festa brings to the people of Geelong in the terms of friendship and tolerance. There is so much richness to be found from the diverse mix of people the Festa brings together and a great chance for the 100000 visitors to get a taste of not only some great multicultural foods but multicultural life. The Pako Festa is a free event and one of the most enjoyable for young and old. It is not to be missed!
For the next Pako Festa visit our February Events Calendar.