Pako Festa’s CovidSafe plan announced

January 21, 2021 BY

After 38 years the Pako Festa is set to return with a new format. Photo: MATT HOUSTON

PAKO Festa is set to return next month with Diversitat announcing an all-new look to the classic event.

After 38 years of delivering culture to the community the event will be brought to the streets of Geelong West with a few key changes due to Covid-19.

Pako Festa event director Luisa LaFornara said the Pakington Street celebration will still honour Geelong’s diversity with offerings of global food from 19 of the town’s ethnic communities.

“We looked closely at Pako Festa feedback from the past few years, and worked to ensure that the new event format includes everything that Geelong has told us they love about the event from global food offerings, entertainment and a showcase of Geelong’s ethnic communities,” she said.

The new format is said to offer a more intimate experience for festival-goers.

“We think this will allow people to discover diversity in an entirely new way while keeping what people loved about Pako Festa over the past 38 years,” she said.

Under CovidSafe guidelines, a few of the traditional elements of the festival will be replaced including the parade and street vendors.

Ms LaFornara said the new development will instead take the public across 13 sites where they will experience the elements of culture.

“Each site will showcase a particular community group and their signature dishes with dine-in and takeaway food offerings and a program of entertainment that will be available at each site,” she said.

To ensure social distancing measures are adhered to all guests must pre-book online, choosing a preferred time between 10.30am and 4.00pm.

Guests will be allowed to place takeaway orders at numerous locations, however dine in options will be kept to one per a night.

In place of the iconic parade there will be a series of night projections featured on the Geelong West Town Hall, showcasing up to 30 diverse communities as well as the work of local photographers.

Emerging and professional artists will also be at the centre of the event with the ‘Elements of Culture Art Trail’ along Pakington Street between Gordon Avenue and Church Street.

Diversitat Acting CEO Brian McMahon said the event is exactly what the community needs in this climate.

“We think the message of Pako Festa is more important now than ever before which is why we were determined to build an event format that would work in the current environment,” he said.

Mr McMahon says the event’s new look was designed to be flexible enough to ensure the event would be able to go ahead under tougher restrictions than those currently imposed.

“The new format strikes the right balance between incorporating Geelong’s favourite aspects of Pako Festa with the need to comply with the advice of health authorities,” he said.

“The health and safety of event-goers is our highest priority.”

Bookings will open on the Pako Festa website next month with festival goers urged to get in early.

To secure your spot head to pakofesta.com.au.

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