The official count is in and more than 4000 people have flocked to Warrnambool's first Multicultural Festival in more than a decade.
A traveller returning to Warrnambool for the first time in two decades has praised the changing face of the city as hundreds flock to its multicultural festival.
Helen Ruddell from Melbourne was passing by the Civic Green on her way to the beach when the sparkle of cultural attire caught her eye.
"I'm looking at everyone involved, everyone's dressed up and there's just a lovely atmosphere here - It's just wonderful," she said.
"Whatever's been done here is working.
"We're travelling, we've gone through South Australia and we're just coming through here now to do the Great Ocean Road - I haven't been to Warrnambool for about 19 years.
"The fact you've got this festival in a regional town is fantastic, I was talking to a lovely lady originally from China and she and her husband have moved here. She told us it's a remarkably friendly town.
"Festivals and markets are a way to understand the local community. I'll definitely be coming back to Warrnambool again."
Ms Ruddell was just one of more than 100 people who'd gathered at the festival by early morning.
It's the first time the city has played host to such an event after Gnatannwarr more than a decade ago.
The free celebration - which includes food stalls, traditional dances and music - is the brainchild of the city's new Multicultural Association and capitalises on latest census findings.
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Event co-host Michael Absalon - who was born in Camperdown and now resides in Warrnambool - said the occasion was an opportunity to showcase that sometimes-hidden diversity of the community.
"It's amazing to have so many cultures represented here today - we really as local people don't have a strong understanding of the diversity we have here," he said.
"Today at the festival here we've got four different continents represented and over 20 different nationalities. It's a fantastic opportunity to have a greater understanding of the fact Warrnambool is a very diverse place and it's awesome for us to get together to learn."
Event MC Sophia Schlecht moved to Warrnambool from Germany in January and was thrilled to take to the stage.
"I'm very excited to be a part of this, I'm very honoured," she said.
"I came to Australia at the start of the year after I met my now-husband who was from Terang-Mortlake.
"This event brings all the communities together, the past two years have been dire so it's wonderful to have something colourful and to have us all come together and enjoy life again.
"We all live next to each other but we actually live together. I'm so grateful - I moved to another continent and I've been accepted here. We need to learn from each other about the way we live and do things."
Beijing-born Mei Zi was more than happy to teach festival-goers about her cultural attire.
"I'm wearing this traditional costume which would have been worn more than 2000 years ago," she said.
"It's red, which is a colour for weddings and which brings good luck."
She said while she wasn't sold on Warrnambool when she first arrived five years ago, the welcoming community soon made her feel at home.
"At the beginning to be honest, I thought Warrnambool was a little boring," she said.
"I'm from Beijing which is a big and very busy city but after five years I love it. It's a really good place for kids to grow up, I've got one boy.
"We have a Chinese group in WeChat with more than 200 people in it. A few of them have moved to another city, but it's really good to have that community.
"We're here and I hope this festival comes back every year."
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