Pyramid Hill Fiesta

Published on 07 October 2015

THE flavours of a traditional Filipino community celebration will be on show this month at the first-ever Pyramid Hill Fiesta.

The event, entitled “Get on Board Jeepney” and planned for Saturday 17 October, will feature cultural dance and singing, karaoke, Filipino cuisine, games and a pageant.

Mixed in will be more home-grown offerings, such as a barbecue, shearing demonstration, damper making, bar facilities, Devonshire teas and the performance of a number of Australian bush ballads.

Based in the Kelly Park precinct, the Fiesta was conceived by the Pyramid Hill Progress Association as a means of recognising the town’s growing Filipino community and building understanding between the two cultures.
 
The broader community has been quick to lend support, with students from Pyramid Hill College and St Patrick’s Primary School presenting dances, local pre-schoolers taking part in a traditional Filipino “Santacruzan” parade, the Lions Club running a barbecue and market, district shearer Brad Peters showing his skills and the museum opening for the afternoon.

Ward councillor Cheryl McKinnon said the impetus for the event had sprung from a general feeling that, “while the presence of Filipino people in our community was growing, we didn’t have opportunity to interact as much as we would have liked”.

“Subsequent conversations with (Loddon Shire Tourism Manager) Robyn Vella gave us the thought of holding a festival of some sort and the Filipino community here jumped at the idea,” Cr McKinnon said.

“They’ve been very excited about it.

“The progress association started things rolling and a steering committee with good representation from around town has moved it on from there.

“The broader community has been very supportive of the concept, but we still need volunteers to help on the day.”

Steering group member Marilyn Fernandez said the Filipino community in Pyramid Hill currently numbered about 35 families.

“Most of those are in town, but others are out on farms,” she said.

“We’ll prepare traditional Filipino food, with three pigs on spits, spring rolls, pork adobo (or casserole) and the pancit canton, a stir-fried noodle dish.

“For dessert, we’ll have turon (caramel banana spring rolls), leche flan, cassava cake and biko, a sweet rice cake. 

“Our chef will come from Bendigo and we’re planning for somewhere between 300 and 500 people.”

Tom Smith, operator of the Kia-Ora Piggery at Yarrawalla, is another who has thrown his support behind the event.

“The pig industry is providing most of the employment for the local Filipino community, though there are a few now working on dairy farms,” Mr Smith said.

“I obviously employ quite a few Filipinos and want to see them involved in the broader community as much as possible – and us with them.

“There’s certainly been good support coming from community organisations for this day and it’s a nice feel all round.”

Funding for the Fiesta has come from the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Festivals and Events program, Loddon Shire and the progress association.

Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines, renowned for their crowded seating and bright decorations.

The Fiesta runs from 2pm to 10pm and entry costs $25 for a family, $10 adult and $5 primary school children, but all food is free from then on. 

For more information, phone (03) 5494 1257 or go to http://www.loddon.vic.gov.au/Lists/Events/Naturally-Loddon-Pyramid-Hill-Fiesta