2 July, 2023

Gearing up for a bigger, better Italian Festival

MAREEBA will be front and centre of the Cairns Italian Festival in August when the town hosts two events of the 15-day festival that features a host of wonderful opportunities to embrace and share in the Italian culture.

Gearing up for a bigger, better Italian Festival - feature photo

Mareeba will be the place to be on the fi nal weekend of the festival, when it hosts a new event, the Moriconi-Bomben Soccer Cup, on Saturday 5 August, and the final event, the Salami and Sausage Festa, on Sunday 6 August.

The soccer event is a tribute to Alfio Moriconi (deceased) from the Mareeba Football Club and John Bomben from Leichhardt Football Club, who both devoted a lifetime of passion to their respective clubs which were well-known rivals who fought out many battles on the soccer field over the years.

This special cup, which is free for the community, is a tribute to honour the two Italians who both have dedicated so much to the game in Far North Queensland.

The second Salami and Sausage Festa promises to seek out the best homemade salami and sausages in the region, with several awards to be presented and the overall winner up for a $2000 cash prize.

Sponsored by Borgo Salumi, the event features a panel of five expert judges who will rate each entry out of 20 in the areas of taste, aroma, density and colour.

There will also be a beautiful homemade Italian lunch and dessert to savour provided by the Mareeba International Club with live Italian music by Duo Attori as entertainment!

Tickets are already on sale at

This year, the Italian Festival has introduced a new event, a Family Night, on 28 July at Fogarty Park on the Cairns Esplanade, which promises to deliver one of the best fi reworks display in North Queensland.

There will be face painting and photo opportunities with Roman soldiers, Pinocchio and more, and the cost is only $2.

One of the most sought-after events this year will be the Gala Ball – Bella Notte, at the Pullman International in Cairns on 4 August which promises to be a night of glamour and excitement,

themed after the iconic Cinecittà film studio in Rome – the Italian Hollywood on the Tiber.

Guests will walk the red carpet and be transported to a world of Italian cinema and elegance, with patrons able to dance the night away to music from the 1940 to 2023.

Tickets, which include a four-course four-course Italian meal expertly crafted by the Pullman International’s chefs, and a five-hour drink package featuring a selection of Italian wines and other beverages, can now be purchased online.

At the event, the Italian Hall of Fame Awards will be announced – a ceremony which aims to recognise the achievements of the pioneers of Italians that migrated to Australia who made a difference to the region.

Award Categories include Community Service Award, Farming and Agriculture Award, Business Recognition Award, Developing and Building Award, Educational Achievement Award, Sporting Achievement Award, Arts and Culture Achievement Award, and Young Italian of the Year.

Nominations and criteria for the Hall of Fame Awards will open soon.

Meanwhile, festival organisers are keen to hear from people who would like to become a volunteer.

Organisers want volunteers for coordinator roles within the committee, and others for smaller roles in the leadup to the festival, as well as volunteers for the week of the festival.

To apply to be a volunteer, contact the Volunteer Coordinator by emailing

The Cairns Italian Festival runs from 23 July to 6 August. The Express and its sister paper, Cairns Local News, are media partners for the event.


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