Songs and dances from Nepal will take centre stage as the headline theme at the 2019 Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival on Sunday, August 11 at Toowoomba’s Queens Park.
A Nepalese dance group and a children’s choir today offered a colourful and rousing preview of what audiences can expect in August alongside hundreds of other performers and stalls selling tempting food from around the globe.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio this morning launched the 14th annual event with festival co-founder and organising committee chair Gitie House OAM, who also is president of the main organising group, Toowoomba International Multicultural Society (TIMS) along with Nepalese community elder Mr Tunnah Budhathoki, who described Australia as close to a paradise.
Mayor Antonio said he was delighted Council was joining other community groups, organisations and sponsors to ensure the award-winning festival celebrated the different cultural groups who live around the region.
“The Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival is a joyous celebration of our region’s diverse cultural groups,” Mayor Antonio said.
“The festival continues to grow and has become one of the region’s most anticipated community events.
“I encourage all residents to enjoy a day out where the richness and traditions of varied cultural groups is on display.
“I’m proud of how our community is able to celebrate our distinct differences. Rejoicing in our diversity shows a great sense of civic pride and maturity.
“Everyone can learn and be enriched by experiencing a little of the fabulous food, music and dance of the cultural groups that come from all corners of the world.
“Getting to know the diverse groups in the community is the perfect way to promote tolerance, respect and understanding among all residents. Plus, it’s a fabulous day of family entertainment and enlightenment.
“Council’s Corporate Plan seeks to value and share cultural diversity and intergenerational knowledge. The festival fits the bill perfectly with its entertainment program and information stalls.
“Today, people from scores of distinct cultural backgrounds call our region home.
“Welcoming and relying on the talents of people from around the globe has been part of our story from the start and continues to add to the richness of the region.”
Mrs House said TIMS was committed to keeping the festival a community-driven event promoting peace, harmony, goodwill and a day of family fun.
“From the start, TIMS and the Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Queensland have worked with volunteers and many community groups to make the Toowoomba Region a welcoming and inclusive society that values people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds,” Mrs House said.
“Our desire is to show how extending the hand of friendship leads to more meaningful integration in the community and a society where people trust and revel in the differences they are free to express.
“It is important to show everyone we value their special customs and wish to include them in the broader community.
“The festival acts as an ‘ice-breaker’ where the best rewards come from two-way exchanges between people.
“Apart from offering an enjoyable day out, the festival features scores of interesting stalls and an array of food, health, market, multi-faith and general information displays that can benefit new residents.
“There will be activities for children and displays featuring school, languages and community information.”
TRC Tourism and Events portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said the festival continued to grow in popularity and stature each year.
“More than 20,000 people attended last year which underlines the appeal of discovering the distinctive food, music and cultural attributes our different communities contribute to our daily lives,” Cr McDonald said.
“It is impossible not to notice our different groups in everyday activities and the festival is a way to meet and experience aspects of our fellow residents’ lives.”
Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for concession cardholders with children admitted for free.
More information about food and stall applications and to volunteer is available at the festival website www.TLCFestival.com.au
Council partners with the Toowoomba International Multicultural Society (TIMS), the Multicultural Development Association (MDA), CatholicCare Social Services, Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Queensland (MLTAQ), USQ, Cedar Centre, Pureland Learning College, Heritage Bank, Stonestreet’s Coaches and K7 to stage the day.
The event is supported by the Queensland Government through Multicultural Affairs Queensland.