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Sharing of cultures brings week to a close

Miguel Ayma, from the Walisuma de Los Andes band, performs at the Gladstone Multicultural Festival.
Miguel Ayma, from the Walisuma de Los Andes band, performs at the Gladstone Multicultural Festival. Luka Kauzlaric

MORE than 7500 people visited the Gladstone Multicultural Festival on Sunday to enjoy a variety of music and entertainment, taste traditional dishes and learn about the unique cultures that make up the Gladstone region.

Held at the Gladstone marina, the festival was a culmination of week-long activities put together by the Gladstone Multicultural Association to celebrate cultural diversity.

The weekend's festivities kicked off on Saturday with a parade of nations at Big W.

Among the participants, Benny Barnes and her 18-month-old daughter Emily modelled traditional Thai gowns, each one representing a different region.

"In Thailand we have four regions, North, South, East and Central. I'm from (the) North but I wanted to show people the different regions," she said.

"I like to educate people about my culture."

The parade at Stockland was just a taste of what was to come yesterday, where more than 70 stalls and 10 performance groups delighted audiences.

Bernadette Miller-Greenman said she was enjoying the food and trying new things.

"I think in a place like Gladstone there's not necessarily heaps of opportunity to understand different cultures.

"We tend to stick to ourselves a bit," she said. "This is a very family friendly way of learning about different cultures."

Bernadette Miller-Greenman and Shi Ping Sia at the Gladstone Multicultural Festival.
Bernadette Miller-Greenman and Shi Ping Sia at the Gladstone Multicultural Festival.

Shi Ping Sia, who is Chinese Malaysian said: "It's awesome to see so many people from different cultures here."

Ten-year-old Oliver Hay was enjoying the entertainment with his family Mira, Andrew and Loredana, 8.

His favourite parts were watching the dancers and being next to the sea at the marina.

"Last time it was very good, so I thought this year would be better and it is," he said.

South American group Walisuma, who travel around Australia playing traditional music from the Andes Mountains, played at yesterday's festival.

Band member Miguel Ayma said events like the Multicultural Festival fostered acceptance and tolerance of people from different backgrounds.

"I think it's very educational for everyone to interact with people from different cultures," he said.

"Especially younger people; it's very important for children to be exposed to different cultures and people with different backgrounds."

Topics:  diversity, festival, gladstone, multicultural week


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