A beautiful day on Sunday 18 November began very early for some Estonians in WA in preparation for the Consular Corps World of Food Festival. The rye bread was baking, the mulgipuder was cooking, the herring was being cleaned and the cakes were in ovens all around Perth.
The event was part of a weekend of festivities for Heritage Perth. For the second year now the WA Consular Corps organized a food festival in the gardens of Government House inviting their community groups to participate. WA has consulates representing 52 countries but only 23 chose to join in so I was delighted when the Estonians agreed to run a stall. This year was a much bigger festival because the stalls were asked to provide food for the evening Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert. Only 12 countries agreed to the evening shift and some of those ran out of food before the end of the event. I'm proud to say the Estonians were still serving coffee and Kalev chocolate till the close of business at 7pm.
The numbers of the day were extraordinary. During the day 11,000 people visited the house and gardens and 8,000 people later attended the concert. This year we had many Estonian visitors. Tiia set up a shady nook behind the stall primarily for the established members of the Estonian community who are very supportive of the work done by the younger generation. It was a very popular spot all day long. There were many younger Estonians who came through the day. The first group were very disappointed there was no Saku beer but came back later for Indrek's mulgipuder.
The Governor, Malcolm McCusker and his wife, Tonya McCusker, visited all the stalls in the morning and a large number of people attended the official ceremony and cultural performances including the Minister of Multicultural Affairs. Members of his office also visited the Estonian display. Many people paused to ask questions about Estonia, the language and people and only a handful of brochures were left at the end of the day.
This year the Estonian stall was carefully planned and organized by Tiia Kruusimaa, Kadi Vabaoja and Mait Meesak. Indrek Ott and Merka Viigisalu flew from Sydney bringing their enthusiasm, gingerbread and chocolates. Additional cakes were provided by Kersti Heek, Eve Enok, Heljo and Alan Davidson, Ethel Palmoja and me.
The day was a wonderful opportunity to promote Estonia to a wide audience and this was accomplished with the positive attitude and hard work of the stall holders. The governor commented to me later that the Estonians seemed to really enjoy themselves. I thank everyone for taking on the responsibility of providing food and good humour all day and for the many Estonians both young and old who came on the day to support us.
WA Consular Corps World of Food Festival