Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cowra's Festival of International Understanding

Once a year, Cowra celebrates a weekend festival of international understanding. A guest country is chosen and that becomes the theme for that year. All the schools invite kids to decorate the shopfronts of main street, there are various workshops on the country's culture and displays in the art gallery might also reflect that nature. A silver birch is also planted every year in honour of the guest nation. The highlights of the festival include a parade with various floats and decorated vehicles. We saw antique vehicles, even an old 50s style rusty truck which putt-putted along. Another highlight is the festival carnival which has the usual games and rides, farmers bring some of their produce such as cheese, jams and chutneys, honey etc. to sell and there are country craft stalls as well as the token sausage sizzle.

We were a bit late to the parade so missed a lot of good bits. This is the group which you will see later dancing on stage. They are a polish dance troupe with a branch in Sydney.

Here they are singing and performic various folkloric dancing.

Here is the polish style fencing with various rapiers and swords. They also gave a talk which was pretty interesting, about the weapons including maces and shields.

This was from the polish foodstall at the carnival. It was a slice of porkneck with 3 potato pancakes and salad with yogurt dressing. The porkneck was tender enough to cut with the plastic fork and knife! It was extremely tasty as was the pancakes. Mmmm They also had black pudding which we gave a miss as well as other smallgoods for sale such as hams and sausages.

The carnival had a good turnout and it was a great weekend of fun for lots of people. I'm glad it had a revival as they had a different, off the main street location the last few years and numbers had started dwindling. Sunday had Polish dancing lessons and also easter egg painting but since B and J were visiting us, we decided to visit The Naked Lady cafe instead. A bit controversial in the town when it first opened, this cafe proved to be a stayer. A photo to pique your curiosity, more to be said in the next blog.


At 3:09 AM, Blogger RON said...

Looks like a nice day for a parade and a picnic. Are the people from the "guest country," diaspora living in Oz, or did they fly in?

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Flatfeet said...

fwah! i like that meat stuff and veg. Ohhh I'm getting hungry.

At 3:15 AM, Blogger Dentist Down Under said...

You've Polish stall at the festival! I'm jealous! I miss placki kartoflane :( My ex's mum makes the best potato pancakes. I'm missing out on all the yummy food here. Hmph

At 6:21 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - You all seem to have alot of festivals and stuff in Oz!Looks good.....

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Hi ron, I don't know alot of the youngsters in the dance were speaking polish which is rare for Australian born kids or teens. I thinkt he local shire council contacts the country's association and they come up with something between them.

flatfeet yeah i love stalls selling different food too. I love trying new cuisines.

DDU, too bad she didn't leave youa recipe!!

Kirk, I guess we do ... the groups are abit different to those found over in the states though. We have few south american people, few eastern and western eupropeans but quite a lot of chinese, koreans, vietnamese. I miss out alot on all that though living in the country. Glad that I was here for the once a year thing :)

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Dentist Down Under said...


I wouldn't understand anyway, she only speaks Polish but I've recipes for my favourite dish bigos hurhur

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Katie said...

oh oh, I can help with this one! Most of the festivities (which actually go for a week) are organised in conjunction with the Ambassador of the guest nation. They usually organise different groups to come to the town in conjunction with the festival committee, whether from within Australia or not, in order to best "promote" their culture to us uncultured bumpkins.

My dad was the festival co-ordinator for a couple of years when he was first elected to council, and before that he co-ordinated the parade as a member of the festival committee. He was most closely involved in the Argentinian and the Romanian festivals, as well as the Australian one in the Federation Centenary year of 2001.

Oh and just as an aside, the woman who owns/operates the Naked Lady was parade co-ordinator for a couple of years as well! So there you go!

At 5:18 PM, Blogger milgwimper said...

Wow that looked like fun, and you need to send the pork neck to me! ;P

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

DDU whats that dish like?

Katie Thank you for that information it is very handy to know! The hard work and hours put into preparation really shows! I'm glad it had a good turnout this year as the numbers had been dwindling in the last few years.
Wow your dad really has been busy with lots of things!

Milly, it was a very relaxing day. There was stuff to do but not overwhelming amount. Enough to sit around and just watch the activities bustle around you.


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