A little girl in a pink salwar kameez sits cross legged on a rug, ice-cream slowly melting down her arm. A small group waits patiently for fresh tacos being made in a tiny red caravan and nearby a crowd gathers, drawn by the smell of a whole pig slowly roasting on a spit. Dumpling makers work as fast as they can and still can’t keep up with demand and all the time, in the background, there is dancing and singing from performers dressed proudly in their brilliantly coloured traditional costumes.
This is Marlborough’s Multicultural Festival, an annual event that puts cultural diversity in the spotlight in the best way possible: through food and music and dance.
And how glorious it is for the thousands of visitors to eat food from Asia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands and Europe knowing that it’s made with honesty and pride, just as it is at home whatever corner of the world that may be in. Judging by the lines of people queuing at each of the food vendors, long time Malburians and the province’s more recent residents were ready to try it all.
In 1969, the band Blue Mink sang “What we need is a great big melting pot …”. It was a celebration of multiculturalism and racial harmony at a time when the world needed healing.
Today, on a sunny Saturday, in Blenheim’s beautiful Pollard Park, we made our own melting pot and it was one filled with smiles and sticky fingers and satisfied tummies.