23 October 2023

Wagga's diversity on full display at Fusion Botanical festival

| Jarryd Rowley
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Fusion Botanical Festival

Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens was the place to be on Saturday for the Fusion Botanical Multicultural Festival. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

A record number of people flocked to the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens on Saturday (21 October) to enjoy the very best international food, drink and music during the 2023 Fusion Botanical Festival.

Thousands of festivalgoers from around the state made the pilgrimage for the 13 scheduled performances on the picturesque gardens stage, including local acts like the Musikademy Shiners, Filipino Dance Nation and the Shinwa-Kai Karate Club of Australia Inc, and fantastic internationally inspired musicians Clypso, Munasib and the Bare Necessities Collective.

Members of the Shinwa-Kai Karate Club put on a fantastic display of martial arts on the main stage. Photo: Shinwa-Kai Karate Club Facebook.

Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga CEO Belinda Crain said the event was one of the most successful festivals she has seen in her time leading the organisation.

“We made the transition from the Victory Memorial Gardens to the Botanic Gardens last year and it has made a huge difference,” Belinda said.

“The gardens offer so much space and opportunity for stalls and performances. It really is the ideal location.”

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Ms Crain said she has only heard positive feedback regarding the festival, with most of the food vendors selling out by the end of the night.

“We got really lucky with the weather. There was a nice breeze flowing through the gardens for most of the afternoon. It made it perfect for people to sit back and enjoy some of our great local performers like the Tibetan Community Dancers, Riverina Nepalese Community Dancers and the Keralan Dance Troupe.

“It was so pleasing to see so many people enjoy all the different cultures we have here in Wagga. We are a very diverse city, and I think it is important for others to see and enjoy those cultures.”

Zoo Keepers brought out snakes at the Fusion Festival

Lachlan Raidal was one of many who enjoyed holding a snake during the Fusion Botanical Festival. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

The headlining act of the festival was the popular reggae group the Bare Necessities Collective, who took to the stage just past 8 o’clock.

“The talent we had here tonight was incredible,” Ms Crain said.

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“Everyone was entertained for the entire duration of the festival, not just by the big headlining acts but by the local dance groups as well.

“The Multicultural Council worked really closely with the local city council, and without them, we wouldn’t have been able to put on such an incredible event.”

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