Songkran, the Thai New Year festival will be celebrated as always on 13 April, but a month ahead of Songkran the Melbourne Thai community will celebrate another major annual event.
On the weekend of 17-18 March, Melbourne's 15th Thai Culture and Food Festival will be held in Federation Square. This year the festival will coincide with the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival's River Graze.
The festival is organised by the not-for profit association Thai Culture and Food Festival Inc. Its members and committee are volunteers involved with a variety of Thai related community and business associations in Victoria.
Victoria has a growing Thai community of over 10,000, including thousands of Thai students studying here, and over 500 restaurants. The event will enable all communities to share in celebrating Songkran, as well as learning more about Thai culture and food.
On both days visitors can sample traditional Thai food from 16 food stalls, or drop in to the Thai Beer Garden for traditional Thai beer and wine, with live music from local bands and spectacular sound and light shows.
If you want to learn something about Thai cooking, special guest Chef Tam, winner of “Top Chef Thailand”, will demonstrate Thai cooking skills.
On Sunday, the main square of Federation Square, the River Terrace and Birrarung Marr will be transformed into Thailand, with five stages of cultural shows, dances, and performances. These include the Joe Louis Puppet Show, the last traditional Thai small puppets troupe in existence, and the versatile contemporary and traditional dance troupe Bunditpatanasilpa Institute.
Also on Sunday, some of the finest Muay Thai Boxing fighters will demonstrate the dedication and skill of the national sport of Thailand in the Amphitheatre.
This year will feature a business hub, a collection of Thai businesses operating in Thailand or in Australia with bilateral relations. The exhibit offers a great opportunity to network and learn about how to do business in Thailand and with Thai companies.
Entry is free, and everybody is welcome, so there is no reason to miss the excitement of this rare chance to immerse yourself in Thai culture.
For all the details of this wonderful event, please visit the festival's website www.thaifestvic.com.