Swiss Italian Festa returns for 24th year on Wednesday

Getting ready: Seven-year-old Maddison Pedretti gets in the spirit ahead of the Swiss Italian Festa which kicks off on Wednesday.  Picture: Lachlan Bence.

Getting ready: Seven-year-old Maddison Pedretti gets in the spirit ahead of the Swiss Italian Festa which kicks off on Wednesday. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

For the past 23 years the annual Swiss Italian Festa has cemented itself as an institution in Daylesford, engaging generation after generation. 

Entertainment: The Italian Choir entertain the masses at the Swiss Italian Festa back in 2013, which returns for its 24th installment this week.

Entertainment: The Italian Choir entertain the masses at the Swiss Italian Festa back in 2013, which returns for its 24th installment this week.

Returning for its 24th installment on Wednesday, the festival will again seek to have something for the entire community as the celebration extends throughout the week. 

Festa director Bec Anderson said the event had become ingrained in the region’s culture, which had helped ensure its longevity. 

There’s been a real determination to keep the festa alive, because it’s such a part of people's growing up here generationally. - - Festa director Bec Anderson

“There’s been a real determination to keep the festa alive, because it’s such a part of people’s growing up here generationally,” Ms Anderson said.  “They have nostalgic memories of the festa and they keep coming back for it.”

Ensuring the next generation of Daylesford residents are engaged with the culturally significant festival has been an underlying goal of the event’s promoters. 

Over the past fortnight organisers have spent time at six primary schools throughout the region, constructing hundreds of lanterns which will again take pride of place at the lantern parade on Sunday night.  

Children will again be the focal point when the festival kicks off, with the Pinocchio Drawing and Children’s Landscape exhibitions both taking place at primary school’s throughout the shire. 

From there food and entertainment will begin to take centre stage at the festival, with the likes of Mara Ropani set to entertain the crowds with a combination of song, story and pasta the Hepburn Borsa Hall. 

Among the crowd will be esteemed guests of the Swiss and Italian communities, including the Swiss consulate general from Sydney. 

Legendary Melbourne-based pizza maker Johnny Di Francesco from 400 Gradi will be showing off his skills as part of the festival. Included in his presentation will be his famous recipe which earned him the title of world's best pizza maker at the international world pizza championships in Parma in 2014. 

Italian musicians Francesco and Salvatore will have crowds on their feet and, as always, the Swiss Italian Grand Parade will march through Daylesford on Saturday morning.