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‘Mini WOMADelaide’ Murraylands Multicultural Festival moves to Pine Park
This year’s family-friendly Murraylands Yuntu-Walun Multicultural Festival, on Sunday, March 19, promises to be even more colourful and comfortable in 2023.
This year’s family-friendly Murraylands Yuntu-Walun Multicultural Festival, on Sunday, March 19, promises to be even more colourful and comfortable at its new venue: Pine Park.
The free event, presented by the Murraylands Multicultural Network and the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC), will showcase the region’s cultural diversity through food, song, dance, arts, crafts and animals.
After doing it tough through Covid and recent floods, the Murraylands community needs such events to relax and to feel they’re individuals but united.
Network chairman John Scarvelis and the MRC’s Heather Muirhead spoke about this year’s program and the importance of the festival.
“A lot of people describe the festival as a mini WOMADelaide,” Mr Scarvelis said.
“It’s about celebrating diversity in cultures in the Murraylands and providing services.
“The festival’s name, yunti-walun, is Ngarrindjeri for coming together – it acknowledges the regional people of the area and also what the Murray Bridge council like to call ‘new settlers’ or ‘new neighbours’.
“Murray Bridge has a reputation for being a very migrant-friendly city, and the festival’s about the coming together after tough times and enables people to go forward with the promise of new jobs, like the new abbatoirs and new businesses.”
Ms Muirhead said the event would start at 11am.
“We have a local Ngarrindjeri group, the Willy Wagtails, to do the welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, and the Honorable Joe Szakacs will open the event,” she said.
After the official opening, some of the many activities at the multicultural festival include Ukrainian dancers, arts and crafts; the Australian Navy Band; Mickster the Trickster’s magic show; Nigerian singing; and more:
Filipino singing, dancing and crafts
a Chinese erhu instrumental performance
Arabesque belly dancing
A petting zoo and Animal Anonymous’s native animals
Boandik Yalunwing weaving and crafts
Maori arts and crafts and Zimbabwean African crafts
a Black Dog Ride Australia stall for mental health
Then there will be coffee and a wide range of foods from Sri Lankan, Greek, French, Italian and Taiwanese cultures and more.
Mr Scarvelis and Ms Muirhead stressed that the stallholders’ profits would go back to their cultural communities.
“The Ukrainian dancers are having a stall to supply support for the devastation in Ukraine – we try to get as many stallholders as possible to make profits to go back to their groups,” Mr Scarvelis said.
The festival remains a free event, which Ms Muirhead recognised was due to the generosity of their contributors and sponsors.
“The council have been fantastic, and we’ve been supported by Black Dog Ride Australia, Big River Pork and the Royal Australian Navy – they give their time each year,” she said.
“Murray Brige and Mobilong Rotary clubs both give their in-kind support.”
Mr Scarvelis and Ms Muirhead were confident that this year’s festival, central to Murray Bridge city and under scented pines, would attract good numbers.
“Last year we had over 1000 people, and that was through COVID, so if people bring their own chairs, that would be good,” Mr Scarvelis said.
In addition, you can order a special Maori hangi in advance by contacting Dawn Matthews on 0434 545 931.
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