By Alana Mitchelson
GREEN, white and red balloons – the colours of the Italian flag – will be let off in Kooweerup next weekend as the town celebrates the 44th Saint Sofia Festival.
Sicilians Raffaele and Maria Bombaci immigrated to Australia in the late 1940s and launched the Italian festival in their new home of Kooweerup during the ’70s with the assistance of the Sortino Social Club.
The Bombacis’ daughter Nella Bertuna said this year’s event had attracted four busloads of people from Melbourne.
“It’s nice to maintain the tradition. Saint Sofia is the Patron Saint of my family’s home town in Sicily called Sortino,” she said.
“It’s a nice get-together. We have a traditional Italian mass in the morning at St John’s Catholic Church with a performance from St Anthony’s Choir, then we have the procession where we carry the statue of Saint Sofia around the streets of Kooweerup and to the St John’s the Baptist Primary School grounds for lunch.
“People pin money to the statue in devotion to Saint Sofia, wishing for good health and other personal requests.”
There will be a sausage sizzle of Italian and Aussie sausages, asparagus and onion rolls, a gelati van and a coffee stand.
Entertainment from Bellini Brass Band and Something To Talk About will follow, singing both Italian traditional favourites and songs in English.
A piano accordionist will also mingle with the crowd.
Donated vegetables, fruit, cakes, cheese and asparagus will be auctioned off at about 1.30pm by the enthusiastic Vince Bucello.
A raffle will be drawn at 4pm, with the main prize being a calf donated by the Buccheri family or, alternatively, a $600 monetary prize.
This year’s Saint Sofia Festival is on Sunday 30 October at St John the Baptist school grounds. It is held on the last Sunday of October every year and entry is free.