HUNDREDS of families from across Hampshire are expected to attend a neighbourhood festival in Southampton celebrating Filipino culture on Saturday.

With dancing, live music, food and a beauty pageant, people from across Southampton are invited to join in the first Southampton Barrio Fiesta.

From 10am to 8pm, hundreds of people are expected to pack into Hoglands Park, where Filipino stars of the stage and screen will be performing song and dance.

The free event will also see fun activities for all the family, with performances by dance troupes celebrating the best of Filipino culture.

Former Miss Saigon musical singer Ima Castro, who has now settled in the UK, is expected to appear as the special guest at the free event and she will be joined on stage by Irish-Filipino TV actor Jon Avila.

Other community leaders, including Southampton mayor Susan Blatchford and Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead, along with the consular general for the Philippines, Senen Mangalile, will be in attendance.

Committee member Maria Aurora Joves said that the inspiration for the festival was the 50th anniversary of the city of Southampton.

She said: “As a service to the Filipino community and to the local community all around the city, we would like this event to be family-orientated, which young ones and the young at heart can enjoy.

“The show will feature the best Filipino cultural performances from various groups across the region, with home-grown and local talented singers.

“Showcasing the uniqueness and diversity of the Filipino culture, it will be a programme filled with high quality entertainment, including an outdoor stage, costumed walkabouts called Santacrusan and a range of interactive fun activities for the ultimate Filipino fiesta experience.

“This is also in conjunction with Southampton’s 50th year of city status and it is our privilege to mark this year, making Southampton an even better place to live in.”

Southampton Barrio Fiesta is a non-profit organisation which is run by individuals and a group of volunteers.

The committee, which gets its funding through grants, sponsorships and fundraising activities, is looking to make the festival an annual event.

For more information contact info@southampton or call Maria on 07824 365387.