It was a great pleasure to attend the Mount Isa Multicultural Festival on Friday.
The festival brought together all of the wonderful cultures that live in this city under the one umbrella, and as I wrote on the weekend it was a feast for all of the senses.
There was something joyful to behold whereever you looked on the night, but the highlight for me was those wonderful Nepalese dancers organiser got up from Brisbane with the help of a state-funding multicultural events grant.
Their costumes and dancing were beautiful and they conducted with great dignity during the festivities and it was also clear they were enjoying the best of what Mount Isa had to offer.
They were a delightful and appropriate choice for a festival for which the theme this year was South Asia.
Someone was asking me on the night how many Multicultural Festivals I had attended in my time in Mount Isa and I had to shamefully answer that this was just my second time.
I even missed the last one out in 2019 when Ireland was the theme as each year it has coincided with the Birdsville Races.
But having well remembered the fun of the first one I attended back in 2016 I decided earlier this year I would not attend the races this year and instead take in the festival.
As it turns out the races were postponed anyway due to COVID, but the multicultural festival went on in what was a great triumph for organisers (special kudos to the wonderful cooking of all the great chefs and the work of entertainment coordinator Khovy Inthavong who ensured the on-stage performances went like clockwork).
Multiculturalism has got something of a bad rap in recent years though quite unfairly in my mind.
Yes, we don't want ghetto cultures or ghetto mentalities, but when done right like it is in Mount Isa, it adds wonderful texture, complexity and vibrancy to a city or town.
Member for Traeger Robbie Katter got it right when he said multiculturalism was in Mount Isa's DNA, a city that grew and flourished under the hard work of people from many nations.
As an overseas-born Australian myself, I can only say long may that continue.