Planning for Whanganui's annual Festival of Cultures is well under way and the event has been expanded to meet growing demand.

This year's festival on October 29 will not only take place in Majestic Square where it has been held for the past 5 years.

Instead it will be expanding to include the Memorial Hall Forecourt.

The festival will now have two performance stages hosting a colourful variety of cultural groups between 10.30am and 3.30pm. Festival organisers say the festival site had to grow to meet demand.


"Last year we had to turn performance groups away or cut their time short," said festival coordinator Elise Goodge.

"We didn't want to extend the duration of the event as we felt this was perfect in terms of audience participation so the logical next step was to add a second stage."

The larger site has also meant that the organising committee have more space for food stalls, a popular component of the day long festival.

This additional space inspired the committee to emulate the Pasifika Festival of Auckland's format and organise stalls into villages.

"This year stalls will be grouped according to which part of the world their cuisine comes from," said Elise.

"We will have an African, Pacific, Asian, South American and European village with an award for the best village at the end of the day."

The festival has already secured many performers and stall holders including Jamaican cuisine, for the first time, and visiting performance group The Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre who will be bringing 16 performers to Whanganui and performing a traditional dragon and lion dance.

The festival still has space for more stall holders and a couple of slots left in the programme for performance groups.

If the weather is wet, the festival will be held inside the Whanganui War Memorial Centre.
For further information on how to enter your performance group or secure a stall site contact Hellen Puhipuhi at