Summer weekends in Melbourne are all about festivals and events. Over the next month, as we step towards Cultural Diversity Week (18 to 26 March), Melbourne will host an abundance of cultural festivals. So while it can be hard to be confined to the office throughout these warmer months, you can set off on cultural and culinary trips each weekend without leaving town. And best of all, these festivals are free!
25-26 February weekend
One of the most mouth-watering festivals set for late February is Maslenitsa – Slavic Pancake Festival. Need we say more?! But, in fact, there is a lot more to this festival than incredibly delicious pancakes. On the food front, you can also expect traditional savoury cakes, shashliks other Russian and Slavic treats. The Royal Exhibition Building will also host a ribbon carousel, tug of war, face painting, dance master classes, plus traditional toy crafting and painting.
One of the biggest Melbourne cultural festivals is the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival, now in its 30th year. It offers free entertainment across two stages – including a featured international performer on the Saturday night – pop-up bars, Greek dancing lessons, storytelling, art and craft, face painting and carnival rides. A Greek celebration is not complete without a feast. From food trucks to home cooking, sweet treats and cooking demonstrations, this festival will have something on offer for all lovers of Greek cuisine.
Also embracing local street food, traditional crafts and live entertainment, the Japanese Summer Festival will grace the River Terrace alongside Federation Square later this month. There will also be prizes for the best dressed, so get your kimono ready. You might just win business class tickets to Japan.
Make a day of it on 26 February and wander along the river to the Lankan Fest a celebration of the rich culture and heritage of Sri Lanka. More than 40 stalls will offer a variety of Sri Lankan food, arts, crafts, spices and tea, all while you’re entertained with live music and dance.
11-12 March weekend
As we move into March, the Turkish Pazar Festival will have your Labour Day weekend sorted. Expect an immersive experience as Queen Victoria Market transforms into a Turkish bazaar with traditional food, music and dance.
25-26 March weekend
As Victoria celebrates Cultural Diversity Week, the Korea Week Festival will offer up a different take on such festivals with a K-Pop competition, Taekwondo shows and a fashion parade of traditional Korean costumes.
Rounding out this month-long indulgence of cultural festivals is Victoria’s Multicultural Festival, which also incorporates a Multicultural Film Festival along with more international food, dance and crafts.