Fijians join to celebrate
FIJI Independence Day celebrations in Gladstone not only attracted 500 people from across Central Queensland but also Fiji's Vude Queen.
Singer Laisa Vulakoro is well known throughout the Pacific but offered to play at Gladstone's independence day celebrations for free.
"We've never been to this part of Australia so when they invited me I said 'why not'?" Ms Vulakoro said.
"It brings Fijian people together in Queensland. It is a good cultural experience."
Ms Vulakoro said it was a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn about Fijian culture as well.
"I taught the kids to dance.
"Although we are so far away from home we bring our culture with us," she said.
The family fun day kicked off at 10am on Saturday and celebrations went on well into the night.
Friends of Fiji Gladstone member and event organiser Cema Simpson said there were 13 Fijian families in Gladstone and they were all there on Saturday.
Ms Simpson said activities included face painting, arts and crafts, plaiting hats with coconut leaves, a sausage sizzle and entertainment with a band travelling from Fiji with Ms Vulakoro.
"We've been so lucky to secure (the entertainment) and they are doing it for free," Ms Simpson said. They have given us their time to showcase our culture."
Ms Simpson said the display of culture, which could be found in everything from the music to the food, was the most important thing about the day.
"If you love food tonight is the best night," she said.
Friends of Fiji Gladstone wanted to thank its sponsors Gladstone Multicultural Association, Gladstone Regional Council, Gladstone Entertainment Centre, PCYC, Tables on Flinders, McDonald's and Ned's Gas Services.