Pako Festa 2021 will offer global food from 19 of Geelong’s diverse ethnic communities. Photo: Matt Houston

Pako Festa announces exciting new format for February 2021 event

Diversitat has today announced the details of the format for Pako Festa 2021, to be held on 27 February.

The new format has been developed for the hugely popular event, which is changing after 38 years due to COVID-19.

Despite the new format, the key elements that Geelong people love about Pako Festa’s celebration of diversity remain, including an offering of global food from 19 of Geelong’s diverse ethnic communities.

To ensure a COVIDSafe event, the event will not feature a few of the traditional elements such as the street parade and street vendors.

Pako Festa event director Luisa La Fornara said that in an exciting new development, the event will take place across a total of 13 sites across Geelong.

“This year we are focusing on the elements of culture and delicious global food,” Ms La Fornara said.

“Each site will showcase a particular community group and their signature dishes – dine-in and takeaway food offerings and a program of entertainment will be available at each site.”

All guests will be required to pre-book online, choosing their preferred location and time across the day from 10:30am-4pm to ensure that social distancing limits can be maintained and to ensure that contact tracing can occur if required.

Bookings will open on the Pako Festa website ( from early February, and event-goers are urged to book early to avoid disappointment.

Numbers will be limited for the various times at each site in accordance with the guidelines of health authorities.

Guests will be able to place takeaway food orders at as many sites as they wish, but due to COVID restrictions will be only able to dine-in at one location.

Taking the place of a parade this year will be a more COVIDSafe offering of night projections on the Geelong West Town Hall at 153 Pakington Street, offering a rich audio-visual experience that features 30 diverse communities and an intimate insight into each culture.

Projections will run from 8:30pm on 27 February, and will continue to run each night over two weeks until 13 March to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience this incredible display in a safe way.

The projections will feature the work of local projection artist Matt Bonner, who is transforming 30 community portraits captured by local photographer Chrissie Francis into an amazing display sponsored by Xtreme Technology and the Committee for Geelong.

Pako Festa will also showcase the work of professional and emerging local artists and local schools in the form of an ‘Elements of Culture Arts Trail’ along Pakington Street between Gordon Ave and Church Street.

The works will feature in shop windows from 27 February – 27 March, taking participants on a journey along the street to discover a diverse selection of artwork and local businesses.

The Elements of Culture Art Trail is supported by SCTechnology Group and Pakington Street Traders’ Association.

The 2021 Pako Festa is delivered by Diversitat and supported by the Victorian Government and The City of Greater Geelong.

It could not be delivered without the support of the local ethnic communities, the Geelong Advertiser, The Committee for Geelong, TAC, Xtreme Technology, SCTechnology Group and the Pakington Street Traders’ Association.

Have questions about Pako Festa? Read our Pako Festa FAQs.