Festival of Cultures broadens its appeal
Plans for Palmerston North’s Festival of Cultures this year involve putting more culture back into the festival.
The 2016 festival drew criticism from the city’s multicultural community for allowing commercial food trucks to crowd out smaller ethnic offerings.
This year, organisation has been brought back under the city council’s wing.
Community engagement manager Ian Littleworth said the Manawatu Multicultural Council had been closely involved, and its spokeswoman Angela Joblin said the interaction had been a lot better this year.
While the main festival runs over three days, March 3 to 5, the event has been strengthened with activities starting from this week.
The Lantern Parade, one of the key features, will be held on March 3 from 7pm in The Square.
Giant rooster and monkey lanterns will be new attractions in this year’s parade.
Lantern-making workshops have been held in the lead up to the festival.
The new lanterns will join past crowd favourites the dragon and the tiger, workshop organiser Jim Richards said.
Four more lantern workshops remain before the festival.
The parade will also feature the gypsy-style music of The Kanistas, a Balkan-groove marching band from Wellington, and performances from Cuban musician Romulo Castro and Chinese groups, and food trucks.
March 4 is primarily about food, starting with an opening cer- emony attended by various embassy representatives, and punctuated by non-stop entertainment and more than 80 cultural food and craft stalls in the Events Quadrant of The Square from 10am to 4pm.
March 5’s programme moves to Te Manawa and The Globe, where one of the highlights will be the Manawatu Multicultural Centre’s ‘‘Multi-Clothes for Multipeople’’ fashion show and wearable arts display.
The programme picks up pace from February 25, when there is a Rangoli Art workshop at Youth Space exploring the colourful techniques for indoor and outdoor floor art.
Latin-American singersongwriter Romulo Castro will be at The Stomach on Wednesday, March 1 for a free workshop, and a concert on March 2.
A taniwha lantern makes it’s way through the square at the 2016 lantern parade.