Festa an uplifting experience

Cr Elise Wilkinson

There are few events that better represent Geelong than Pako Festa.

Its origins are much later than some long-running traditions, but across its 40-plus years it has provided rich insights into the changing face of the region.

Geelong’s increasing cultural diversity, borne from our collective embrace of people of different backgrounds, is there for all to see during the annual street celebration.

For Pako Festa participants and attendees, it is an uplifting experience.

The food, the fashion, the dancing, and the music; it is a feast for the senses.

It also reminds us that what bring us together, is far more important than any differences we may have.

Council is a long-running supporter of Pako Festa, and has provided $100,000 to Cultura, to help the organisation deliver tomorrow’s event.

If you haven’t made plans to attend, I encourage you to get down to Pakington Street and enjoy the full spectacle.

And whenever you’re next in central Geelong, it’s also worth checking out a new exhibition, showing at council’s leading cultural venue, which explores the success of the multicultural festival.

I was proud to officially open Cultural Bridges: Celebrating Four Decades of Pako Festa, at the National Wool Museum last week.

It showcases the people – their traditions, their cultures and their stories – and the amazing array of objects and items that have graced the Pako Festa parades and stalls over the years.

The exhibition is showing at the museum until mid-July.

This extraordinary period of population growth we’ve been through could not have been possible without this region being recognised as a welcoming and inclusive community.

And the Geelong region is all the better for the diverse range of cultural groups that have established and grown here.

Council has a goal to help create a net zero community in Geelong by 2035.

What we are doing – and how we are supporting local businesses and community groups – to achieve this aim is the focus of Meet the Women Leaders Forum next week.

I’m looking forward to joining Greens Member for Victoria Sarah Mansfield, Surf Coast Shire mayor Liz Pattison and a host of community leaders for a panel discussion.

Climate change is the biggest and most important challenge we all face.

There is a range of great work the Council is doing to mitigate the impacts.

This includes requiring Zero Carbon Operational Energy Plans for new developments, to procuring renewable energy for all our electricity needs.

We’re investing heavily in our electric light vehicle fleet, and associated EV charging infrastructure.

And we’re rolling out a total conversion to LED streetlights; and supporting community projects via our Climate Change Partnership Grants.

But of course, we should continually look for improvements, to accelerate our transition to an environmentally and economically sustainable society.

This and more will be discussed at the forum, which will be hosted by WILD Geelong on Thursday evening at City Hall.

For more information on the event visit events.humanitix.com/theclimatecrisisathome