New Italy’s a destination for food, fun
THE new purpose-built stage and plaza at the New Italy complex got its first real workout yesterday as more than 2000 patrons came to celebrate Italian heritage in the Northern Rivers at Carnevale Italiano 2016.
The day featured cultural and religious events as well as food, wine, music and dancing.
"The biggest thing about this day is the dancing, and now we have done all these renovations we have the biggest dance floor ready to go," event manager Alison Kelly said.
The celebration of "all things Italian" was the major fundraiser of the year for the New Italy Museum complex situated on the Pacific Highway 10 minutes south of Woodburn by car.
Originally celebrated once a year to mark Anniversary Day of the 50 families who settled in New Italy in 1881, Carnevale Italiano has grown into a celebration of all that is great about Italians in Australia.
"We have such a rich history of Italians who first settled in this area, but their kids have spread all across the region and Australia," Ms Kelly said.
"They come together once a year to celebrate. Mostly people just love getting together and sitting around talking and listening. And enjoying themselves."
Headline acts included opera soprano singer Simone Nicole and Robert Severini, a keyboard and cabaret performer from Melbourne.
There was plenty of food on offer, including pizza and spaghetti, of course, as well as horse and carriage rides, the game of bocce as well as displays, talks and a children's tent.
The New Italy Museum complex president John Barnes said the not-for-profit organisation was run to preserve the Italian cultural heritage of the Northern Rivers.
All profits made by the organisation went back into maintaining the New Italy facility, he said.
Recent upgrades have included a new purpose-built stage and plaza area. There are also more grassy spaces.
The event is growing each year, and is supported by a huge effort from more than 90 volunteers.