The biggest street party in the Inner West, with an Italian twist!
The Norton Street Festa celebrates its 28th year with fine Italian produce, concerts, dance competitions and the best coffee, gelato and pizza in Sydney. Head down to our very own ‘little Italy’ on Sunday the 26th of October for a slice of fun.
It’s no surprise that the Norton Street Italian Festa has made it to its 28th year, as each year’s festival manages to surpass the previous, in entertainment, food and atmosphere. This year is no exception, with over 240 stalls and three entertainment stages, it is set to be the best party yet. Events producer Patrick O’Reilly aims to bring the festival “back to its roots” with a concentration on authentic Italian cooking, entertainment, fashion and coffee – without the garnishes of a generic carnival. We bring you the highlights of this year’s Festa, which will have you loosening your belts and celebrating the best of Leichhardt.
The best of the Fest!
For the kids
It won’t be hard to keep the kids happy at the Norton Street Festa, the day will be spilling over with carnival rides, rock climbing, jumping castles, puppet shows, roving stilt walkers, animal farms, face painting, dancing competitions and more. If you have a budding Michael Jackson at home why not bring them along to watch the Nikki Webster Dance School performance in the morning. Alternately, Co.As.It will be holding a children’s story time, read in both Italian and English.
Just like Nonna makes it
Throughout the day the cooking stage will play host to a number of masters in Italian cuisine, however, if you want to learn from the real pros be sure to check out the popular “Nonni in Cucina”.
An event where local nonnas will take to the stage to share their secrets and traditions in preparing classic Italian dishes. Not only will you have the opportunity to share in their best kept secrets, but also their food! Tasting session will be held after the demonstration.
If you’re a car fanatic make sure you don’t miss the Auto Festa, where you’ll be privy to Sydney’s largest collection of classic, vintage and contemporary Italian models. The collection boasts over 1000 Italian-made automobiles and motorbikes, with renowned names like Fiat, Lanica, Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Vespa. If you think you’ve got a car worth displaying, or always dreamt of taking part in the Auto Festa, bring your automobile along – participation is free.
Ciao’s Battle of the Baristas
Which Inner West suburb has the best coffee you ask? Ciao seeks to answer this much contested question with our very own battle of the baristas. Starting at 10.30am, the competition is spread out over the day with four different heats, with the winner announced at 4pm. We have invited entries from coffee shops across the Inner West to find out who has the best baristas and beans in the business and finally lay the question to rest.
Ciao’s spring fashion parade
As spring settles in and the weather begins to heat up it’s time for a whole new wardrobe. Luckily Ciao’s Norton Street Festa fashion parade is back this year with all the latest in what’s hot this spring and summer.
This year the festival will include some of Leichhardt’s best local designers and boutique stores, offering a range of inspiration for all budgets. Stores include MIA on Norton, Meshea’s Boutique, YaY Yoi’s and selected outlets from MarketPlace Leichhardt. There’s stylish and sophisticated looks that could be suited for a day at the races, perfect inspiration for the upcoming spring racing season. Or see what you can rustle up from local vintage stores like Newtown’s Red Cross, where a budget find can become your new favourite wardrobe item. Get up to date with the latest trends this season, from floral prints to white lace and pretty pastels to maxi dresses.
Spot a celebrity chef
At the Festa you’ll not only be spotting celebrities but tasting their food and learning their secrets.
Luke and Scott from My Kitchen Rules will be making an appearance demonstrating just how good healthy food can taste with Italian inspired recipes from their Clean Living Cookbook.
Silvia Colloca, actress, opera singer and cook book author, will give you a taste of Abruzzo, where she spent most of her summers growing up. If you’re lucky she might take a page out of her own cooking book with dishes like homemade cannelloni with ricotta and spinach.
Grandparents Day at the Festa
It’s no coincidence that Grandparents Day coincides with the Norton Street Festa and it gives us all a well overdue opportunity to thank our grandparents, whether it be the nonnas on stage imparting their culinary wisdom or all grandparents taking their grandkids along for the festivities.
There will be a stall handing out ‘Happy Grandparents Day’ balloons, a photo booth where you can capture special moments or DIY cards for the kids. The Grandparent of the Year awards will be presented by Premier Baird on the Ciao stage at 11am.
A Royal Raucous
The recently revamped Royal Hotel on Norton Street will be hosting a spit roast for the Festa, and serving up ham-off-the-bone rolls with fresh lemonade from their new Cocktail Bar and Bistro, the Royal Botanical.
They will also be hosting a classic pub raffle, where, if you sign up to their Social Club, you could go in to the running to win a Webber BBQ and meat tray.
The Royal Botanical will be offering its full menu from 9am onwards so tuck into some of their twice-cooked fries or a bucket of hot wings, or dig into their delicious pear and frangipani tart.
All Things Italiano!
Also making it to the Norton Street Festa are representations of luxury Italian creations, so if you know a snobby Italo-phile or two you should bring them down for some titillating taste testing and window shopping.
For starters, get guzzling (in moderation) at the Zonin Prosecco Bar. You will be able to sample their famous Prosecco nude or in a Bellini cocktail.
Casa Vinicola Zonin is known as the largest private vinyard in Friuli and the Zonin’s family history as vintners dates back almost 200 hundred years. Known as the wine that sparkles, be sure to have a drop as you are making your way through the festa’s stalls.
Mustazolli and Miele
Traditionally handed out during saint processions in Calabria, Mustazolli is a simple southern Italian treat that carries a scent of nostalgia for the homeland.
Casa Di Miele has been making Mustazolli, or honeybread, for three generations, spreading it around innumerable community festivities and festas. Like all Italian desserts it goes wonderfully with coffee or tea and can be served with ice-cream.
Murano Glass or more commonly known as Venetian Glass hails from Murano Island in the Venice Lagoon. The well-known glassmakers of Venice moved their trade there in 1291 as their ovens and torches were considered a fire threat to the densely populated city. Glass blowers remain on Murano till this day.
At Festa for her fourth year and celebrating her 60th birthday, jewellery desiger Renata, will be showcasing her collection of bespoke, handmade creations. She is well-known for her craftsmanship with a range of materials including Austrian Swarovski crystal, Czech pressed glass and Indian glass but is especially known for the delicate designs she makes with Murano Glass beads.
Ok, no taste testing at this stall. The enthusiastic members of the Alfa Romeo Club will be celebrating the Club’s 40th Birthday at the Festa with early Alfas from the Club on show, as well as the very latest – Alfa Romeo Guiletta – making an appearance with the help of Leichhardt Fiat Alfa.
The club was established in 1974 with 40 members, and 40 years on they now have close to 700 members. It provides social, technical and motorsport activities for enthusiasts, and defensive driving lessons for learner drives.
And damn, you’d want to be defensive if you were driving one of these babies. For more car-perving be sure to check out the Auto Festa which will also be zooming past on the day.