Wollongong savours a taste of Italy

 Sisters Charley and Ruby Fowler sample some cannoli. Pictures: GREG TOTMAN
Sisters Charley and Ruby Fowler sample some cannoli. Pictures: GREG TOTMAN
Emma Tropea and her brother Cruz.

Emma Tropea and her brother Cruz.

Sophia and Lily Paiola from Figtree admire the vintage cars.

Sophia and Lily Paiola from Figtree admire the vintage cars.

Neeka Babar tries out the vintage phone.

Neeka Babar tries out the vintage phone.

Viviana Carreno is of Chilean heritage but proud to wear the Italian flag.

Viviana Carreno is of Chilean heritage but proud to wear the Italian flag.

Marli Subbi from Gerroa spends time with Dora the Explorer.

Marli Subbi from Gerroa spends time with Dora the Explorer.

Johnny Ciocca from Dapto slurps down spaghetti.

Johnny Ciocca from Dapto slurps down spaghetti.

Sweet, custard-filled cannolis, mouth-watering woodfired pizza and many a hearty bowl of spaghetti were on offer as patrons flocked to grab a taste of Italy at Fairy Meadow yesterday.

Hundreds filtered through the gates of the Fraternity Club to enjoy the sights and sounds of Wollongong's annual Italian Festival, now in its 32nd year and considered one of the region's oldest, lured by the promise of afternoon markets, rides, a 9pm fireworks display and - of course - plenty of tasty Italian treats.

Pony rides, face-painting and carnival rides were the clear winners of the afternoon, as patrons browsed through dozens of jewellery, craft and food stalls to the sounds of la fisarmonica.

There were performances by X Factor contestants Audio Vixen, Nick Bavarelli and band, and Chris Ninni, a contestant from The Voice.

Italian folk dancing was also among the entertainment highlights, as well as the annual spaghetti and pizza eating competitions.

The festival, which traditionally kicks off with a mass celebrated at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, was hosted by the not-for-profit association of St John the Baptist, South Coast.