The Levee was transformed into a global village with thousands flocking to the city for the Riverlights Multicultural Festival on Saturday.
Thailand, Germany, South America and Tibet were just some of the 27 different cultures that came together for the event.
Maitland Council’s events coordinator Adam Franks said the rainy weather didn’t deter the festivities with at least 8000 attendees, which stretched throughout High Street and the riverbank.
“It was amazing to see everyone coming together and the weather stayed reasonably nice,” Mr Franks said.
“There was really great atmosphere during the day, and everyone seemed to have a really good time.”
As well as music and food, the event featured the Riverlights Lantern Flotilla in the Hunter River which saw hundreds of handmade lanterns float down the channel.
“It was a really great evening and came together really well. It was definitely one of the highlights,” Mr Franks said. “We also had our world stage which featured a huge program of cultural dance and song, and fashion parades.
“It was wonderful to see how engaged and proud the groups were to get up and perform. It was the busiest part of the whole festival with hundreds of people around all night.”
In its seventh year, the festival remains a popular celebration of the cultural diversity of Maitland with all four corners of the globe represented.
Mr Franks said it was an important event for bringing together the whole community and breaking down barriers. “One of the ways we encouraged kids’ participation is a cultural passport and the whole night people were moving around getting them stamped,” he said.
“The [cultural] groups got so much out of it and you could see they were really enjoying sharing their culture.”
Mr Franks confirmed the much-loved multicultural festival will be returning for another run next year.
“It’s definitely cemented in Maitland Council’s calendar. It’s going from strength to strength.
“We are really proud of it, and it will be back next October."