18 March 2023

Popular festival celebrating cultures returns to Cooma

| Gail Eastaway
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Two dancers

Cooma’s annual multicultural festival is being held on Sunday. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

Multiculturalism was alive and well in Cooma well before the term became popular.

The new home for more than 50 nationalities during the building of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme (the Snowy Scheme) from 1949 to 1974, Cooma embraced and has retained those cultures and the people to the present day.

The theme continues under the influence of Snowy 2.0.

In recent years, this aspect of life in a quiet but unique NSW country town has been celebrated with an annual festival.

The 2023 festival will be held this Sunday 19 March and event organisers are expecting this year’s event to be the biggest yet.

The Cooma Multicultural Festival will bring together more people than ever before for a day of music, dancing and eating.

For the first time in the festival’s history, there will be an event on the evening before.

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A Latin fiesta is taking place at the Alpine Hotel, Cooma on Saturday to celebrate the region’s Latino community.

The fiesta starts at 6:30 pm and through NSW Government funding and support from local businesses, the event is free.

There will be a band, salsa dancing and lots of fun.

Cooma Multicultural Festival organiser Yvi Henderson said this year’s festival would be special, with Cooma now home to many new families due to the Snowy 2.0 project.

“We have many more families in Cooma now, similar to when the Snowy Scheme started. There are more people from South America, and our Indian community is the largest it has been,” Yvi said.

“It’s a wonderful time to live in Cooma with so many different cultures and the festival allows us to celebrate everyone.”

Yvi anticipates the 2023 event will be the best yet.

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“I encourage everyone to come along. It is the best day of the year. Not only do we have the excellent stage performances, we have food markets and a range of local service providers holding stalls,” Ms Henderson said.

“This year is particularly exciting, and I expect the festival to be the best yet.”

The annual Cooma Multicultural Festival has become one of the region’s most popular events with the community coming together to celebrate the Snowy Monaro’s many nationalities and cultures.

“We have dancers and food stalls representing nations from across the world,” Yvi said.

“The festival embraces what we love about living in a multicultural community like Cooma.”

For those concerned about Cooma’s sometimes variable weather, the forecast is for a sunny autumn day. The festival will be held in Centennial Park, Cooma, from 10 am to 3:30 pm and coincides with the regular Cooma Rotary Markets.

All the regular stallholders will be in attendance as well as the specific multicultural festival stalls.

Admittance is free.

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