October 13th, 2023Hepburn’s Swiss Italian Festa returns
Words & file image: Donna Kelly
Hepburn’s Swiss Italian Festa is back after a three-year hiatus. From Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29, the region will come alive with a vibrant celebration of heritage, culture and lifestyle – with the theme Viva La Festa 23!
Coordinator Emma Ireland said she had been involved with the community festival in 2019 but with Covid, it had ground to a halt.
“I was all ready to go and then Covid happened. I was really looking forward to bringing it back to its heyday, it used to have a crowd of 20,000, and then all these years later I had time to help with community events, and that was Words in Winter and then the Swiss Italian Festa.
“I pulled in all the people I spoke to way back then and said ‘do you want this festival?’ and they all did, it is such an important cultural event. And I have two kids, one who doesn’t know anything about the festa and the other who has done the parade and was part of the performace at the amphitheatre and remembers the fireworks.
“And I thought about all the newcomers to the town and the kids who have grown up with such a significant festival. It used to be the biggest we had. I saw it in its shadow form and thought it might disappear and I wanted to get involved and have those stories told again.”
Emma said she had a lot of support from schools, teachers and the community with significant funding from Hepburn Shire Council and plenty of help from the Daylesford Community Opportunity Shop, Carol White at Lavandula, Liam Thornycroft at Beppe Restaurant and Daylesford Rotary, to mention a few.
“For those who haven’t experienced the festa, please come down and be part of the parade on Saturday and the family day at the amphitheatre, and then Sunday which is our lantern parade and fireworks. It is nice to gather again, it’s been a long time.”
Daylesford Primary School vice-principal Trudi Blick said she had been involved in the festa for at least 20 years, as the Italian teacher at the school. “It’s a really important festival and provides a valuable forum for students to showcase their Italian
learning, offer a real purpose for that learning, and to be involved in the community.
“All the community and schools get together for the parade in particular, and they
can perform and showcase their learning. It is a really valuable festival for our town and for us to celebrate our Swiss Italian history.” Link: www.swissitalianfesta.com