3 November 2022

Eurobodalla's 'family lunch' brings diversity to the table

| Zoe Cartwright
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Diversity dinner

Raj Gupta, performer Bella Maneedaw Sukkorn, and Adrian Farrant at the Eurobodalla’s first Diversity Dinner. Photo: Supplied.

The Eurobodalla’s “biggest Sunday lunch” was a roaring success – even if it was more of a Saturday night dinner.

Organiser Jan Frikken said food, company and atmosphere were the three keys to a successful event – and the region’s first annual multicultural community dinner brought them in spades, with more than 200 guests coming together in the Moruya RSL Hall.

“There is something about the sharing of food that binds us together, like a larger version of the Sunday family lunch,” she said.

“The tables groaned with an abundance of delicious food representing countries from across the globe.

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“One guest told us she had travelled all over the world, and this feast was the best international food that she has ever tasted.”

The centrepiece of the epicurean overload was a whole roast pig on a spit, or lechon baboy in Tagalog (Filipino).

It wasn’t just food that made the night special, though.

Guests came prepared to have a good time and showcase their culture.

Cultural performances had guests on their feet at the Eurobodalla’s first Diversity Dinner. Photo: Supplied.

There were a variety of cultural performances, including Moroccan music, mesmerising Filipina and Thai dancers, and tuneful clarinet, oud and flute players.

“The joy and energy of the Zorba the Greek dance captured the celebratory atmosphere of the evening,” Jan said.

“Everyone was up and dancing together, laughing with pure joy.

“There in front of us was unity in diversity in action in our multicultural Eurobodalla.”

The event was not funded by any external organisation, and guests were only asked to provide a small donation at the door.

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The food, entertainment, decorations and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a great night out was provided by the community.

The Eurobodalla Multicultural Committee invited anyone and everyone to get involved by word of mouth, the Batemans Bay and Moruya Facebook noticeboards as well as via other media.

All attendees were encouraged to participate in the celebration of the region’s multiculturalism, whether by providing food or entertainment.

“People from so many different groups generously stepped up to give us fabulous performances and amazing food,” Jan said.

“This was further supported by local businesses like the Mariners Hotel, Starfish Deli, Sawaddee Thai and Kohli’s donating delicious dishes.

The Diversity Dinner attracted about 200 people. Photo: Supplied.

“Of course, a night like this could not happen without all those behind-the-scenes people who organise, who set up the halls, decorated, cooked, donated money, and cleaned up afterwards.

“This is community helping community at its very best.”

The Eurobodalla Multicultural Group hopes the Eurobodalla Shire Council and other partners will come on board to assist with future events, so costs for things like the hall hire can be kept down.

Ultimately, they hope funding bodies will see the need for a multicultural hub in the region.

Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland attended the event, and threw his support behind the push for a multicultural hub on social media.

“They need a hub, and I will work with the NSW Government and Eurobodalla Shire Council to find them a home,” he said.

In addition to hosting fabulous dinners, the Eurobodalla Multicultural Group helps migrants integrate into the broader community and connects them with the information and service providers they need.

“This in turn builds a much stronger, more unified Eurobodalla,” Jan said.

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