Pako Festa reveals new format for 2022

January 7, 2022 BY

Usually held on Pakington Street, the Pako Festa will move to a Norlane location this year. Photo: PETER MARSHALL

PAKO Festa will have a new format this year, with the multicultural festival moving away from Pakington Street in Geelong West to the Northern Community Hub in Norlane.

To be held on February 26, the event will mark the 40th anniversary of Pako Festa and will include the usual food stalls, a celebration of diverse cultures, entertainment galore and a new twist on the traditional parade.

Diversitat chief executive officer Joy Leggo said having one big celebration with everyone together in one location for one big party was the perfect way to celebrate the 40th Pako Festa.

“We are thrilled to mix things up this year and offer a new twist on what has always proven to be a very successful public event for Geelong.

“We will feature a large stage with a ‘traditional costume catwalk’ to allow our communities to proudly show off their colourful cultures to the wider communities of Geelong. We are thrilled about hosting this event at its new location as it opens up a myriad of possibilities.

“The format for this ‘new look’ event strikes the right balance – it’s one big celebration at a key site for Geelong’s diverse communities, while still ensuring that we can run a safe event that complies with all state government requirements.”

The Northern Community Hub is a significant location for Geelong’s diverse communities, with the federal government establishing the British Migrant Hostel on the site in the mid-1940s.

The site accommodated migrants from many different nationalities and was soon renamed as the Norlane Hostel, with the site acting as a temporary home to thousands of migrants in the 1950s and 1960s.

“In many ways, we see this as Pako Festa returning home, back to a significant site for Geelong’s diverse communities and a location that allows us many possibilities,” Ms Leggo said.

“Our plans are still being finalised, and we are working very closely with the state government and ensuring our event format is flexible to adapt to COVID restrictions as they change.

“People won’t need to book online to attend the event, and as always, Pako Festa is a free community event.”

All attendees will be required to be vaccinated in compliance with government requirements.

Food purchases will be available online (via credit card payments and with a 20 per cent discount) or on the day.

The arts trail in Pakington Street will return this year, and to mark the 40th Pako Festa, 40 portraits featuring Geelong’s diverse communities will be hung in Market Square as a free public exhibition.

There will also be a limited-edition cookbook, featuring some of the most popular dishes from Geelong’s diverse communities served at Pako Festa since 1983.

For more information, head to the Pako Festa website.

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