All smiles for our multicultural party

Thousands of people have turned out for one of Geelong’s biggest multicultural events, the annual Pako Festa.

The event’s again held along Pakington Street in Geelong West on the weekend, with a big crowd turning out to enjoy food and entertainment from all over the world.

Pako 2 Serenetie Mortimer Feb 18As always the parade was the show stopper, with more than 90 floats and hundreds of people taking part.

One of the eye-catching offerings, which featured a giant snowman, represented the current Russian holiday season of Maslenitsa, which celebrates the imminent end of winter in Slavic mythology.

Pako 3 Boris KaticIt also marks the last week before the onset of Great Lent.

Pako Festa began in 1983 when the Ethnic Communities Council worked with traders in Geelong West and the Geelong West City Council to organise a community-driven party.

Organisers say while the event has grown over the decades, the focus of celebrating and highlighting the contributions of multicultural communities, groups and individuals remains the same.

Pictures: (top) celebrating the Russian holiday season of Maslenitsa, this float was one of the highlights of the Pako Festa parade (Boris Katic); (middle) Olya and Vladimir Polovnikovaright, along with Elena and Veronika Pudikova, celebrate their Russian heritage (Boris Katic); (above) Cats mascot Quarter Cat is always ready to party! (Seren’etie Mortimer)