TAMWORTH has much to celebrate.
We are a city that can lay claim to musical greats and sporting talents.
But equally as important is our ability to celebrate culture.
Tamworth has traditionally made headlines for the wrong reasons when it comes to embracing people from outside of the Anglo-Saxon culture that dominates the region.
But locals proved they are ready to move away from this stereotype and embrace a new era that celebrates multiculturalism over the weekend.
Thousands of local residents and visitors rolled out to Peel Street on Saturday afternoon for Fiesta La Peel, a street festival showcasing the different cultures that make Tamworth what it is.
Countries represented at the festival included Australia, Africa, UK, India, Fiji, Lebanon, Thailand, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Philippines, Madagascar, Hungary, Kenya, Nepal, Botswana, China, Indonesia, Korea, Laos and Bangladesh.
The street became heaving with stalls that featured food, art, dance, language and traditional dress of various countries.
Kids, adults and everyone in between eyed bursts of colour and inhaled exotic aromas as the city came alive with lion dancers, belly dancers, interactive drumming, art and craft workshops and food from almost every pocket of the world.
It’s not often you see adult belly dancers shaking their way down the street or dozens of kids sitting for minutes on end to learn the art of drumming, let alone the chance to devour Hungarian chimney cakes after Thai fish cakes just metres apart.
But Saturday night was a special occasion that celebrated all that is great about living in an increasingly multicultural country.
It was about sharing and learning the best parts of one culture with another.
Fiesta La Peel was one of those rare events where the very people who make up our region, from all walks of life, come together as one.
Organisers should be applauded for staging such an event that spoke to the whole of community.
We must hope that our region continues to welcome and celebrate different cultures.
The words of Multicultural Tamworth chairman Eddie Whitham seem to sum up the new culture in Tamworth perfectly: “We come from places that never shut down, we call Tamworth home.”