Ingham has a large Italian population, in fact more than 50% are of Italian descent, the first of whom came to Australia in the 1890s to work in the sugar cane industry. Today some of their descendants are still involved with sugar cane but there are many other Italian businesses that have grown up in the town. Each year an Australian/Italian festival is held in the town promoting it’s cultural background where the food stalls and entertainment have an Italian theme and everyone enjoys themselves.
We drove down from Mission Beach in our trusty Apollo to join in the fun at the festival, where we first watched a cookery demonstration by an Italian chef preparing a delicious pasta dish with a prawn and tomato sauce, then on to watch the greasy pole competition to see attempts made to climb the pole to try and reach prizes hanging at the top.
We of course bought delicious pizza for lunch with Italian ice cream to follow!
The entertainment continued with a local choir dressed in National costume singing Italian folk songs followed by ‘The Carina Dancers’ who performed some typical Italian folk dances, getting some of the audience to join them at the end for further dances, Margaret joined in but they couldn’t persuade Duncan to dance!
There was lots of laughter watching the pasta and pizza eating competitions, and at the grape stomping competition to see who could extract the most juice from the grapes in the barrel, you couldn’t stand too close or else you got covered in grape juice!
Part of the Australian theme at the festival was an excellent display from the students of Abergowrie College, who performed some Aboriginal dancing. Some students from Torres Strait also demonstrated their traditional dancing, they were all excellent and we enjoyed it enormously.
As time was getting on we had to leave before the firework display, but we heard that it made a magnificent end to a fantastic day.