Your festive welcome! (Issue 22, 2011)

Festival lanterns

Festival puppetThe Festival of Light and Friendship was a celebration and welcome for international students into our community. The Festival took place on Sunday 30 October and even the questionable weather could not discourage the happy crowds.

The Festival aimed to extend a warm welcome to international students and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the City of Darebin. The Festival also gave students a chance to celebrate with their peers through a range of fun activities.
There were many stalls and information booths providing free merchandise and information to those who are new to Australia and Melbourne. Some of them included:

  • The Salvation Army games station
  • Aussie Farmers Direct
  • Sports Action – Northern Raiders Gridiron team
  • Darebin Overseas Student Advisory Committee (DOSA)

A highlight from the day was International Students Got Talent, a talent quest for international students who broadcasted their unique talents on stage in front of a large audience. The winner was a group of university students called Yosakoi Soran Bushi. The group performed a traditional Japanese song and dance, which captured and held the judges’ and audience’s attention. The judges included Councillor Tim Laurence of Darebin City Council, Gary Lee from the City of Melbourne and Liz Stinson, Director of La Trobe International.

Another highlight was the Bigger Picture Puppet Project premier. The project involved students creating huge and colourful puppets from scratch throughout the months before the festival and wearing them on the day. The puppets were a huge hit as they weaved through the crowds; there was even a clash of the titans as two of the puppets went head-to-head in a mock battle.

The day was finished off with a beautiful fireworks display, leaving the crowd happy and content. This was the second Festival of Light and Friendship, and with the success of this year, no doubt next year will be just as fun and entertaining.