Information night kicks off 2020 Festival of International Understanding

Cr Ruth Fagan, New Zealand High Commission Public Diplomacy Adviser John Bannon and Mayor Bill West at the launch.
Cr Ruth Fagan, New Zealand High Commission Public Diplomacy Adviser John Bannon and Mayor Bill West at the launch.

The 2020 Festival of International Understanding was officially launched at the Cowra Services Club on Tuesday, November 26, with New Zealand named as the special guest nation.

Speaking at a community information night, Festival Coordinator Meredith Burton said the 2020 Festival would highlight Maori culture and the friendly rivalry between the two nations.

"I'm going to introduce the great pavlova bakeoff, I think that we can learn more about it and its history by cooking them," she said.

"We are also going to have a gumboot throwing competition and a tug-of-war competition, great New Zealand events and would love a club to come forward to host those."

Ms Burton said the festival would also recognise Cowra's twinning agreement with Featherston and the Anzac tradition.

Cowra Mayor, Bill West, said he was looking forward to the Cowra community participating in the festival, enjoying it and embracing the meaning of it.

"The festival is something that always brings up interesting highlights," he said.

"It's always interesting to meet with the ambassadors of the high commissions. The one thing that really stands out is, whether they meet as a jovial, happy person or straight laced and draconian, they finish up being very good friends of Cowra.

"Leaving with a respect of what we are doing and what the place we have in Australian history with the Festival, international understanding and the ethos of peace and international goodwill.

"It is something we as a Cowra community should be very proud of and not undersell ourselves," he said.

Ms Burton said with the community information night, applications were now open for a number of the Festival's events.

"Applications I declare open are the Youth Ambassador program, we are hoping for a short turnaround with people putting in application by December 9," she said.

"Places in the parade, carnival exhibitors and stallholders and expressions of interest in other activities.

"If you are interested in holding a dinner, hosting an activity or donating a prize, anything to do with the Festival, feel free to fill in an expression of interest form. I promise I do follow everything up and try to make everything happen," she said.

She said the Festival was also looking for people to perform and speak, special guests, local suppliers for services and infrastructure and groups to take on management of events on weekend.

"My job is to help facilitate everything and to give help," she said.

"So if group wants to take something on but is confused about advertising or paperwork or permissions or approvals, it's my job to help you do that.

"I'm always happy to have people volunteer, I'm a very firm believer in, if you volunteer, I will give you meaningful job. Please fill in an expression of interest or give me a call," she said.