As an Italophile from way back, I couldn’t resist the lure of “Festa Italia” that took place on Sunday at the Australian Italian Club in North Hobart. As we approached the event, a man with a synthesiser crooned “…when you walk in a dream but you know you’re not dreaming, signore…” like at so many big weddings, and I knew we were in the right place!
There was a huge turnout under the scorching sun, and the organisers (supported by an impressive array of sponsors and many volunteers) provided all sorts of cuisine, display and entertainment to enjoy. Flag twirlers in colourful tights, and gold-fringed gladiators wandered around, posing for group photographs with kids. A full program on stage included bands, dancers and even a spaghetti-eating competition. An indoor display offered some respite from the UV rays and an interesting insight into some of the cultural contributions of Italians to the area.
Delicious pizza by the slice, campari on ice and tiramisu were just some of the favourite flavours that were available to devour. The demand for gelato caused some fluster, but apparently last year’s festa was a gloomy weather affair at which the crowds had surrounded the coffee machine instead. There are some things you just can’t control!
It was an amusing sight, but testament to the event’s success, to see crowds of people huddled against poles, along fences and under eaves to catch fragments of shade so they could linger and enjoy all that the Festa Italia had to offer.