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Saturday July 31, 2010

by Ginette Toscano Page

Well, we have certainly come a long way from the first Italian Festival held at the Petone Settlers Museum in 1995 when numbers were around 1,000 attending. The festival at that time was held in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition ALLA FINE DEL MONDO - The Italians in Wellington and also the launch of the book by Paul Elenio of the same name. This was really the beginning of our Italian community having a recognised strong presence in Wellington.

After a few years the festival became so popular that we decided to move the event to the Overseas Terminal under the guidance of the then President, Cav Gerry May, and now in 2010 we are now moving to another venue, The Westpac Stadium. The festival, which this year will be in its 16th year, draws crowds of 12-15,000 and showcases the best in Italian food, beverages, products and services to the wider public, plus it is a time for all Italians to celebrate both our culture and our lively and well-respected presence in Wellington.

Because the festival has outgrown its traditional home and, with the plan to convert the Overseas Terminal eventually to apartments, the decision was made to move the festival to the new venue. This will enable us to have a larger number of Italian producers and exporters represented at the festival, which already draws exhibitors of everything from travel and books to fashion. A great variety of entertainment and demonstrations will be featured as well.

This is a new venture for Club Garibaldi and one that will require support form our members. Discussions have already been held with Cav Antonio Cacace, the principal organiser. We will make a cultural stand, as well as having our usual stand advertising the club and its activities, and of course, the wonderful food stall where festival goers have come to find delicious home-baked goodies.

All those who have been involved in our previous festivals have enjoyed the experience of helping make our festivals a huge success. The club will benefit financially too, as this is the only 'fundraising' that members participate in ensuring our club's continuance, and keeping our lovely premises well maintained. More details in our next newsletter as the committee will be meeting to finalise details. We encourage all members to be involved and, of course, attend the festival to celebrate what it means to be an Italian living in Wellington. As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, we have much to be proud of.

You can view more details on, If you know of anyone that may want to register as an exhibitor, then direct them to the festival website and download the application form and Westpac Stadium event floor plan. You can also contact Antonio Cacace direct on

Ginette Toscano Page

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