Our multicultural ‘fiesta’ in October

TAMWORTH’S patchwork quilt of cultures will be on display at a massive multicultural festival planned for October.

Announced yesterday, Fiesta La Peel will be a colourful celebration of the estimated 80 different cultural groups that call Tamworth home.

Multicultural Tamworth and Northern Settlement Services secured three years of government funding for the event, which will be underwritten for a further two years by Tamworth Regional Council (TRC).

A section of Peel St will be closed off for the October 18 festival, transformed into a celebration of multicultural music, dance, food and crafts.

Local refugee advocate and Multicultural Tamworth Inc president Eddie Whitham said the festival would be an opportunity for the multicultural community to show a different side.

“There are still rednecks out there and this is a chance for them to be educated about different cultures,” Mr Whitham said.

He said the racial mix of the city had changed dramatically since 2006, when TRC gained national media attention after refusing to resettle a group of Sudanese refugees.

“You only have to walk the street and see the faces of people to know that,” Mr Whitham said.

“The abattoirs are huge employers of migrants and the health service would be running at about 30 per cent overseas-born workers.

“Tamworth is about to supply the jobs and they are coming here.”

He said the rate of locals born overseas was about 8 per cent, far higher than the 2011 census’s figures of just over 5 per cent.

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