The tents are out, the banners and decorations are up, and the road closures have already begun – but will the weather gods smile on the ACT’s biggest ever Multicultural Festival?
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, it looks as though the weather could be celebrating diversity in the skies as much as Canberrans turn out to celebrate cultural diversity in the streets of Civic over the weekend.
The mixed weather is due to begin on Friday, which, despite the sunny start and a forecast top of 35 degrees, could end with a thunder and lightning show in the sky to mark the opening concert of the National Multicultural Festival due to begin at 4.30pm.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Helen Kirkup says storms on Friday afternoon and evening will likely be more flash and bang than heavy rain.
“There is a slight chance of some thunderstorms developing in the afternoon or the evening, except that we don’t expect much in the way of rainfall from these,” Ms Kirkup said.
Festival-goers should be prepared for the patchy conditions to continue on Saturday. It is expected to be a warm 34 degrees, but partly cloudy with a chance of isolated showers and possible thunderstorms. Ms Kirkup says the chance of rain is about 50 to 60 per cent.
But with a front expected to move through overnight on Saturday, umbrellas could be more of a necessity for the final day of the festival. Ms Kirkup said the chance of rain was slightly higher on Sunday as moisture from the ocean heads towards the territory.
Road closures for the festival began on Friday morning, with the closure of Akuna Street between Bunda Street and London Circuit from 10am. The road will remain closed until 8am on Monday.
London Circuit has been reduced to 40km/h speed limit with just one lane open in both directions between Constitution Avenue and Northbourne Avenue. The section will be closed to all traffic from 6pm Friday until 8pm Sunday.
The London Circuit carpark opposite Baileys Corner closed at 6am on Friday and will remain closed until 8pm Sunday. The London Circuit/Constitution Avenue carpark will be closed from 5pm Friday until 5pm Sunday.
Canberrans are being urged to use park and ride facilities to head to the festival, with free parking available at 14 major bus stops across the capital.
Further information on buses and road closures can be found via the Transport for Canberra website or by calling Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.