Indonesian food stall in Pako Festa 2022 serving traditional food to customers (photo by: KJRI Melbourne)

Melbourne, WARTA KEMA 2022– Saturday (26/2), one of Australia’s largest annual multicultural festivals showcases both local and international cultures for everyone to enjoy to celebrate diversity and embrace multiculturalism. Pako Festa, one of Australia’s largest annual multicultural festivals, attended by thousands of people in pre-pandemic times. This year, it was held in Geelong City, an hour’s drive west from Melbourne, Australia. 

Among the many cultures that were found participating in the event, such as German, Pakistani, Russian, Greek, and local Aboriginal culture, one of the crowd’s favorites was Indonesia. 

The Indonesian Association of Geelong (IAG) is the community representing Indonesia in Pako Festa 2022. They presented a cultural performance showcasing Indonesian folk costumes and also set up a food stall that served traditional Indonesian food, such as nasi goreng and beef rendang

Astrid Tarigan Brown, Vice-President of IAG, was one of the coordinators for the Indonesian community in Pako Festa 2022. She has lived in Australia for 13 years and has attended Pako Festa every year since 2012. Astrid made a comment about multicultural ethnic groups in Pako Festa.

“In 1982, the multicultural ethnic groups in Geelong always had a get-together, to get to know each other coming from multicultural backgrounds.”

“It (Pako Festa) is something to give back to the community, to appreciate and to show the culture that they bring from each country,” she continues.

Nowadays, Pako Festa is officially run by Diversitat, a local governmental organization in Geelong that works in the cultural and ethnicity field. According to their website, it is Australia’s largest free celebration of multicultural communities. In 2020 alone, they saw 110,000 people attend the festival.

However, ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee had to change the location and a few traditions of the festival. Astrid and her team had to adapt by thinking up new ways to showcase Indonesian culture. 

“Normally, there’s a parade. We’d usually do it in Pakington Street, that’s why we call it Pako Festa. The street would be closed from 8am, there would be no traffic since the road is blocked.”

“This year, we have a fashion show to replace the parade,” Astrid recounts to Warta Kema in an interview (27/2). 

A model exhibits traditional Indonesian clothes in Pako Festa 2022 (photo by: KJRI Melbourne)

Each year, IAG will always try to bring different themes to the day-long festival. The highlights of their themes would be circulated between the many Indonesian ethnic communities in the region such as Bona Pasogit (Batak), Kawanua (Minahasa), Paguyuban Pasundan (Sundanese), and others. This is an effort to showcase the diverse ethnicities across different Indonesian islands to Australians, explained Astrid. 

As a representative of IAG, Astrid hopes that this tradition will be handed down to the younger generations of Geelong to continue in the coming years. 

“We always try to encourage and include the younger generation. Even though they were born here (in Australia) or come from mixed parents, we try to introduce their roots, teach them their mother heritage and culture,” Astrid said.

Reporter: Fareez Eldacca
Editor: Disma Alfinisa

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