THE ANNUAL Carnivale Italiano, a celebration of all things Italian, saw a couple of thousand people gather at the New Italy Museum yesterday to dance, celebrate and eat.
The Carnivale, as always incorporating the anniversary of the settlement of 50 Italian families who came to settle at New Italy after being rescued by Australia in 1881 after a disastrous sea voyage, saw a crowd gather "beyond expectations", said one of the organisers and descendants, John Barnes.
"We're beginning to bust at the seams," he said of the growing annual event.
The day, filled with displays, entertainment, good food, fine wine and tasty gelato, saw the Italian Consular General for Australia Sergio Martes and local politicians of every level come out, along with descendents of those who first came here from Italy in the late 1800s.
One family who was enjoying the celebrations were three generations of descendants: sisters Regina Fava and Clare Powell, Mrs Powell's brother-in-law Raymond Powell, and her daughters Christine Ziebell and Bernadette Cornelius, as well as Christine's children Daniel, 20, and Tabitha Cornelius, 22.
The family is descended from the Bazzo's and the Battistuzzi's, who came across from Italy on that first voyage in 1881, and said they all grew up learning about their heritage, something they were thankful for.
They are now spread out across Alstonville, Woodburn and Ballina, and said, unanimously, that best thing about the festival and Italian culture on a whole for them, was the food.
Another descendant, Barry Rapp, whose great-grandfather, Luigi Antoniolli, also arrived in Australia on that first sea voyage, said he was enjoying the festival, as usual.
The born-and-bred Lismore man said that he's been watching the beloved festival grow over the years, and thinks it's so good, it should really be on "every Sunday!"
He said while he hasn't been to Italy yet, his sister has visited, and he would love to, if he won Lotto!