People rest in the shade at the Multicultural Festival on Saturday. Photo: Rohan Thomson
SARIS mixed it with Scottish kilts, Tongan tupenu and hijabs as more than 250,000 people celebrated the National Multicultural Festival.
National costumes and traditional fare from around the world were on display in a show of cultural pride but with temperatures reaching 35 degrees, shade and water were two of the most sought-after commodities.
Afternoon showers cooled the crowd but did not stop celebrations; many revellers had come prepared with umbrellas and raincoats.
The line for fluffy little Dutch pancakes called poffertjes was 20-long and the German beer tent did a roaring trade.
Tasnia Masud, 18, was dressed in a vibrant red and orange sari as she took part in a wedding fashion parade to show the colours and creations of Bangladeshi brides.
It was the second time the O'Malley resident had taken part in the festival and she was showing off the type of sari that is traditionally worn two days before the wedding.
''There are so many nations, so many cultures and it's so easy to learn about them,'' she said.
Harry Notaras, 40, and his niece Chole Koundouris were on a mission to find the tent highlighting El Salvador. But with more than 400 stalls selling examples of cuisines from around the world they found it hard to stay focused. Along they way they sampled Greek lamb and doughnuts and nine-year-old Chole made a marble painting.
''It's the best day of the year in Canberra,'' Mr Notaras said.
Last year's festival attracted about 240,000 people. The ACT government tipped that 250,000 would enjoy Friday and Saturday's events but final figures were unavailable.
A spokesman from ACT Policing said the crowd was very well behaved.
The National Multicultural Festival continues on Sunday in Civic. A full program can be found at multiculturalfestival.com.au.