Due to the immense success of the multicultural festival in Queanbeyan, Bungendore will have its very own for the first time on 5 February. Following a ‘Reconnecting Regional’ grant from the NSW State Government, the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) has announced that they will host this event a month before the Queanbeyan festival on 5 March. The festival is expected to provide the rapidly growing community of Bungendore an opportunity to celebrate its diversity of culture, food, and music, along with a chance for the QPRC to understand who represents the town’s new demographic.
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Kenrick Winchester said, “Bungendore has a really tight-knit community and our events team is working closely with local groups out there to make this event a winner.”
The free event will be held on Mick Sherd Oval on Gibraltar Street. It will follow the same principles of the Queanbeyan festival by bringing together the cultures of Bungendore through food, music, dance, and various activities.
QPRC program coordinator for performing arts and culture Sara Wightman, who also manages the Q Theatre and Bicentennial Hall, said there would be a stage for all the live entertainment and no segmented areas for stalls so that it was “a mixture of everything”.
“Whether it’s the Macedonian, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese or Nepalese group, they always bring their own delicious food. So there are lots of different options for people to have a look at,” Ms Wightman said.
Ms Wightman noted that the weekend was chosen to ensure families could provide amusement for the kids as schools start to return. Over the past few years, Bungendore has had a lot of infrastructure go up which has drawn many young families from the surrounding regions.
The development has been so rapid that the QPRC are unaware of who has actually moved to Bungendore and what cultures are filtering out to this small town. Ms Wightman believed it was a result of multiple factors, including a natural growth of the area, increasing property prices in Canberra, and mainly COVID-19, with more people looking for a greater amount of space.
“You see a lot of these regional and rural areas that now have young families there, which is a great way to grow up.”
Recent Federal Government population forecasts expect the ACT’s population to expand from its current 460,000 to 550,000 in 10 years, and there has been a record amount of internal migration from the capital cities to regional areas since the pandemic. Last Monday, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) called for a national population plan to accommodate the next decade of overseas and interstate migrants in regional cities and towns, which “are crying out for skills and labour”.
Region asked Ms Wightman if the pilot event was expected to become an annual event like the Queanbeyan festival.
“It’s early days yet but we just don’t know,” Ms Wightman said. “We would love to do it again, but it always comes down to funding for us.
“So, if we get an opportunity through the NSW State Government to apply for grants and this is a successful event such that everybody wants us to do it again, we’ll do whatever we can to make it happen.”
If you’re interested in participating in the festival as an entertainer, stallholder, or volunteer, you can apply to the Queanbeyan and Bungendore Multicultural Festivals here.
Original Article published by James Day on About Regional.
Original Article published by James Day on Riotact.