Fun fact – just shy of 20 per cent of Illawarra residents were born overseas, and even more have one or both parents born outside Australia.
The Illawarra’s proud multicultural history is woven into the fabric of everyday life – you don’t have to travel far to find quality coffee or a great banh mi, and we boast the biggest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as beautiful churches and mosques.
Wollongong City Council is celebrating the city’s vibrant and diverse culture with the return of contemporary multicultural festival, Culture Mix.
Twelve thousand people attended the free, inclusive community event in 2023.
This year the festival will return on 19 October to showcase the region’s vibrant and diverse culture through food, music, dance, art and workshops.
Wollongong City Council is putting the call out for anyone who is keen to get involved to put their hand up now.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said the first festival was a shot in the dark.
“We weren’t sure what to expect in 2023, as it was our first Culture Mix festival, so we were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who made their way into the CBD,” he said.
“Last year’s event saw more than 120 activities across eight hours of programming— everything from interactive dance performances to cooking and art demonstrations and a Korean Haenyeo Show.
“2024 will be our second year bringing Culture Mix to Wollongong. Once again, we’re looking for people, community groups and businesses to get involved and help us design a unique and locally focused event that everyone can enjoy.”
The council is looking for multicultural community members, groups and organisations who have a great idea they’d like to develop for the festival.
Grants of up to $2000 per project are now open. Applications close 5 pm 31 March. Find out more about the grant application process here.
If you’re interested in being involved by presenting a performance or workshop, and your idea doesn’t need development funding to make it happen, you can register your interest here.
The council will also be calling for stallholders to apply in the coming months.
“We’re calling for EOIs [expressions of interest] from community members who want to be part of the event in some capacity, whether that’s through dancing, music, art, craft or something else,” Cr Bradbery said.
“We were blown away by the creative and cultural activities, workshops and stalls that made Culture Mix 2023 an amazing experience for our community.
“This year’s event will build on everything we learnt from last year and will hopefully see more community members get involved in the event planning and delivery.
“For the rest of our community, lock Saturday 19 October 2024 into your diaries, write it into your phone or on your calendar and start spreading the word to your family and friends.
“Culture Mix is a one-of-a-kind festival that truly speaks to who we are as a community. This is not an event to miss, and we look forward to celebrating with you later this year.”
The event is supported by the NSW Government.