One of Canberra's biggest food and culture events was launched with its trademark colour in Civic Square on Tuesday afternoon, with Multicultural Affairs Minister Joy Burch hailing the 2013 festival as the biggest yet.

Highlights are include performances from Kate Cerebrano on Friday night, and Christine Anu and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu at the Indigenous Showcase on Saturday. Australian entertainer Jay Laga'aia will lead the children's parade.

"It doesn't matter what your interests are ... you can find something from all corners of the globe right here this weekend in Canberra," Ms Burch said.

The 2013 also sees the return of the MultiFringe on Saturday evening, with a focus on keeping cool after the forecast 34 degree day.

The Fringe will street art and music and dance performances across three stages, as well as misting fans and two large blow-up swimming pools - coined The Gene Pools - for cooling off and, according to organiser Nick Byrne, "mixing genes".

Unfortunately the city's 100-year-old merry-go-round in Garema Place may be forced to sit out the festivities, after breaking down last Friday.

Keryl Neville from Lead said maintenance staff were working to source a part for the Canberra icon, and "have their fingers crossed" it will be back in operation before the festival begins on Friday.

The National Multicultural Festival begins on Friday evening and runs until Sunday afternoon.