Twirling tartans and the full power of a Scottish pipe band will add a highland fair touch to this year’s Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival on Sunday, August 20.
The pipes will call all Scots and people from other backgrounds to the festival’s cavalcade of colour, sounds and aromas at Toowoomba’s Queens Park from 10am-4pm.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio, pictured, this morning launched the 12th annual event with festival co-founder and organising committee chair Gitie House, who also is president of the main organising group, Toowoomba International Multicultural Society (TIMS) along with Katie Connolly, who was representing some of the city’s Scottish groups.
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 festival continues to grow and has become one of the region’s iconic community events,” Mayor Antonio said.
“Council proudly boasts of the many rich traditions we have and it is pleasing to see the festival prosper as a day to share in the special traditions that each cultural group holds so dearly.
“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 entertainment.
“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.
“At the time of European settlement, German and Chinese communities were active in the growing town. Settlers with Scottish heritage also played a part in early station expansion. Today, the region is home to people from around 200 distinct cultural backgrounds.
“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, pictured right, 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.
“Genuine inclusion 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. Seeing is believing and believing leads to greater understanding.
“Apart from offering an enjoyable day out, the festival features more than 180 stalls and an array of food, health, market, multi-faith and general information displays that can benefit new residents.
“Following on the success of the Bollywood spectacular for the 10th anniversary festival and last year’s performances by Pasifika Toowoomba, we are featuring the Scottish culture this year.
“There will be displays by many other cultural groups along with rides and 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.
“Around 18,000 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 $8 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), Catholic Care Social Services, Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Queensland (MLTAQ), USQ, Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre, Pureland Learning College, Heritage Bank and K7 to stage the day.
The event is supported by the Queensland Government through Multicultural Affairs Queensland.
Captions: Top: Charlotte Biss (left), Sian Preston, Ivy Schmidt and Jessica Biss from Bernadette’s School of Highland Dancing perform at the launch of the 2017 Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival. Dancers from the McGrath School of Highland Dancing also performed (the Strathspey and the Highland Reel), along with the Caledonian Society Pipe Band (below).