All welcome at South American celebration

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Queenstown’s vibrant South American community plans to party up a storm at their own colourful mini-festival. 

Exotic food, dancing and pulsating live music is on the menu for tomorrow’s free bash at Earnslaw Park and Revolver bar on Shotover Street. 

The inaugural South American Festival is the brainchild of local mum Nadia Hughes – and she aims to turn it into an annual event. 

Hughes, originally from the Czech Republic, hit on the idea after a spell working at her husband Guy’s language school in the resort. 

“I’ve always loved Brazilian music and I get to meet many South Americans through the school,” she says. 

“There are a lot of people from places like Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay living and working in Queenstown now and this is a great opportunity for them to introduce us to their amazing culture. 

“I hope it’ll also help the South Americans feel more at home here.” 

Revellers at Earnslaw Park will sample authentic dishes, watch samba and capoeira dance displays, and listen to music from live band John Armless S.A plus assorted DJs. 

Argentinian chef Mauro Viale will serve up fried empanadas – similar to Kiwi pies – from one of two food stalls. 

“It’ll be great if the locals and tourists turn out to support the festival,” Viale says. “It would be good to see it get bigger and better every year.” 

On the night, organisers will also be raising funds for relief agencies in Chile, which was hit by a devastating earthquake on February 27.