Don’t you just love a weekend where you’ve got time to wander around and discover something new? On Sunday afternoon after a nice big porridge and apple breakfast, followed up by a little PS3 Alice: Madness Returns I thought that my brain needed some time outdoors. So I packed my little bag with Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ and prepared for a couple of hours at De Clieu on Gertrude Street. Happily, I was waylaid by the fabulous Emerge Festival 2011 – an initiative of Multicultural Arts Victoria. Today’s blog-cum-photo essay brings you along on my adventure.

As some of you no doubt know by now, my passion for life is voracious. The same goes for food, and it was the flavoursome scene of ‘Delicious Mauritius’ on Napier Street which took me off my path an towards the Emerge Festival. The Emerge Festival aims to celebrate diversity in our community, by celebration United Nations World Refugee Day and Refugee Week in Victoria. As such there were lots of different food stalls, with Ethiopian coffee ceremonies, Mauritian curries and (my favorite!) Turkish Gozleme.

Inset is a photo (admittedly a bad one, they were all taken with my iPhone generation one!) of the jolly gozleme makers. A Gozleme is like a savoury crepe – you can fill it with whatever you like. I chose spinach, mushroom and cheese.

Noms to these buttery browned beauties which I scoffed heartily while watching Ethiopian pop singing. Check out her amazing silver lace-work traditional dress. African Queen!

Feeling pretty content with myself after having enjoyed both Ethiopian pop music and a round of Turkish gozleme.

There was more to discover inside the Fitzroy Town Hall, which is a building that has always held some mystery for me. It’s a beautiful dedication to federation Melbourne architecture, yet it seems oddly placed – facing onto smallish Napier Street. But I suppose that town planners back then weren’t to know that the city would grow as it has – it seems most grand buildings face towards the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. I checked out the grand ballroom, which was beautiful and looked like something from Daylesford – all delicate plasterwork and Victorian colourscheme.

There was also a youth stage in the Fitzroy Library room, which is a glorious thing festooned with high ‘Beauty and the Beast’ style book cases and chandeliers. I heard a group of three indigenous young women sing some beautiful songs, and then this funky rapper dude came out. The room was packed. There was also lots of interesting artwork placed around the room, with these odd haunted faces I quite liked.

Finally, it couldn’t be a proper day out on Brunswick Street after a festival without some kind of protest. On cue whilst I was at Zetta Florence  getting some beautiful new stationary, a large group of refugee support activists came by. It was refreshing to see so much support for diverse communities – a real celebration. I’m thankful to live in a society where we can protest and openly discuss our viewpoints. Particularly in the increasingly arid political environment we find ourselves marooned in.

What a fabulous Sunday – all the better because it was unexpected.