Every fridge at Canberra’s Czechoslovak Australian Association is filled to the brim with potatoes, all in preparation for this weekend’s National Multicultural Festival.
But while 220 kilograms of spuds is a new record for the not for profit organisation, they’ve got their potato pancake preparation down to a fine art, having taken part in every festival since it began 25 years ago.
And the pancakes – as well as the Czech Republican beer, Cernovar – have proven to be a hit of the years, according to vice president Ales Zezulka. Only one change has been made to the pancake recipe and that’s the removal of pork.
“Some people are vegetarian so I think it was a good idea actually. It means the entire community can enjoy it,” he said.
“We have repeating clients but a lot of new ones as well,” fellow club member Jan Suchovsky said.
“And there’s a lot of people who have similar experiences from back in Europe in their childhood and they say ‘Our mother used to do it. How do you do it? Our mother used to do it this way’. So we compare notes.”
The festival is Canberra’s biggest celebration of cultural diversity with 200,000 people expected to attend from Friday to Sunday. With an entertainment program running across six stages right in the heart of the city, including Glebe Park, the event includes food, live music, dancing and performances from every corner of the world.
“I personally like how the multicultural festival brings a lot of cultures together so you can try out food from any country you like, try out beer from any country you like,” Mr Zezulka said.
“Vietnam is making good beer too and you get to see what the other cultures are doing and how they live in this country.
“Last year we saw the marching Brazilians go through the streets and it was beautiful. I’ve never, ever seen it before. It was very nice.
“That’s what it is about – to see the other cultures. Australia is very proud of its multicultural background because everyone comes from another country unless they’re Aboriginal. We’re lucky that we can come here.”
What you need to know
- When: Friday from 4pm to 11pm, Saturday from 10am to 11pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
- Where: Garema Place and surrounding areas.
- Getting there: Public transport is encouraged, with Transport Canberra putting on extra services on both the bus and light rail networks. Additional light rail services will be in place on Saturday with increased Rapid bus services in place Saturday and Sunday. There are 14 park and ride facilities across the city which you can find at transport.act.gov.au.
- Road closures: London Circuit (between Northbourne Avenue and Constitution Avenue), and Akuna Street (between Cooyong Street and Bunda Street, and the northbound lane between Bunda Street and London Circuit).