CELEBRATE Cultural Diversity Week by getting involved with Ballarat’s annual Harmony Fest, from this Friday, 15 to Sunday, 24 March.
The 10-day festival will champion the theme of ‘All of Us’ across the city, with over 30 events and initiatives in the diverse multicultural program, reflecting the make-up of Ballarat’s community.
City of Ballarat’s intercultural advisor, Yvon Davis said the festival will also look at multiculturalism on the goldfields, and it’s all about mixing and mingling.
“There’s so much to learn from each other,” she said.
Harmony Fest’s size, involvement and popularity has grown since it began nine years ago. A highlight of this year’s program includes the Dunnstown Irish Festival, a huge coup for Harmony Fest, joining the program for the first time.
Celtic bands, Irish sports and games, potato peeling and picking, a tug of war, the Guinness Relay, Irish dancing, food trucks, popular local band, Old Melbourne Road and more, will all be on site.
The Dunnstown Irish Festival is held across St Patrick’s weekend at the Dunnstown Recreation Reserve.
Across the 10 days, 16 local eateries and restaurants are providing ‘Tastes of the World,’ an event featuring unique cultural cuisines to excite Ballarat’s taste buds.
Some of the businesses involved include, Café Meigas celebrating Latin America, The Pub with Two Names championing Argentina, Markama Café with some Ethiopian, Curry Star serving up Indian and P. Frangos and Sons getting into Greek.
Backspace Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ballarat are on board with their exhibitions, Beyond 50%, focussing on art’s influence on cultural change, and Picasso: The Vollard Suite, on loan from the National Gallery of Australia.
A workshop at the Art Gallery, Women Artists in China, is an opportunity to meet eight women who are contemporary Chinese artists. A presentation followed by discussions, will show work from Zhu Xiaorong, Hong Fan, Hua Manjun and Zhang Wenjing.
Attendees will hear about the artists’ experiences and understanding of contemporary art in Australia and in China. Chinese translation is provided.
The Intercultural City Gala Dinner will return on Friday, 22 March at Mercure Ballarat, with a three-course dinner and live multicultural entertainment including Ballarat Ska Union, a dance band. Guests are invited to wear their traditional or formal dress.
Harmony Fest will conclude with a bang at the Rock the Block Culture Fest at FedUni’s SMB campus on Lydiard Street south, led by young people.
Ballarat’s Libraries at Wendouree, Lucas, Sebastopol, Learmonth, Eureka and Delacombe are presenting Harmony Storytime through the festival, shining a light on diversity, inclusion and sharing.
Australian Harmony Day on Thursday, 21 March will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Download the full Harmony Fest program for times, dates and details at ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/events/harmonyfest.aspx. Most events are free, unless indicated otherwise.
Tickets are selling quickly for the Gala Dinner and are $60 per person for community members and groups.
They’re available at hermaj.com/events/intercultural-city-gala-dinner.
Follow facebook.com/harmonyfest2012COB for all updates.