A festival with food and ethnic Indian dance is being planned to liven up the dreary days of a Whanganui winter.
The Multicultural Feast & Festival is on Saturday, June 26, from 4.30pm to 9.30pm in the Whanganui War Memorial Centre.
It would include a competition for the best rice dish and the presentation of certificates to elders, Multicultural Council of Rangitīkei Whanganui president Pushpa Prasad said.
Whanganui's summer and autumn were crowded with events, and people wanted something lively in winter, she said. Prasad planned to have the first annual multicultural winter festival last year, but was prevented by Covid-19 restrictions.
This year her circle of friends and others were excited about the event - an opportunity to get out of the house and "just to enjoy liveliness in the hall", Prasad said.
The festival is free and open to anyone of any age. Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall and Whanganui MP Steph Lewis have been invited.
There will be hot food to buy in the covered area outside the centre from 4.30pm, with other food and craft stalls inside.
Rice dishes cooked in the competition will be tasted from 5pm, with judges Raymond Ng, Vivek Bangia and Nitin Parashar deciding who will win the $100, $50 and $25 prizes.
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The entertainment starts after that, provided by members of Parita Pathak Bose's Shivam Dance Academy. Pathak Bose, a former Whanganui resident, now teaches modern and classical Indian dance in Wellington.
She has students of all ages who dance to maintain their culture and keep fit and healthy.
During the evening, immigrants who have lived in Whanganui for 15 years or more and are over 75 will be honoured with certificates. Prasad is looking for more people in that category, and suggestions can be emailed to email@example.com.
The festival is funded by $5000 from the Office of Ethnic Communities Te Tari Matawaka.