Hefty afternoon showers didn’t deter crowds as thousands of people flocked to Commercial Drive for the resurrection of Italian Day, a street festival held yesterday for the first time in almost 30 years.
From Venables Street south to Grandview Highway, the Drive was alive with the sounds of opera singers and Italian folk music, and the smell of cooking sausages and grilling fetine.
“Italy is about food and music,” said Michael Cuccione, president of the Associazione Culturale Calabrese. “We wanted to bring the nostalgia back.”
Cuccione, whose organization sold sausages and fetine on buns with peppers, said the revived festival was great and that people were enjoying themselves and having a good time.
Italian Day, which was an annual event in Vancouver, was cancelled in the early 1980s because the merchants who put it on could no longer afford the insurance for the ever-growing festival.
“It’s a great idea,” said Rebecca Johnson, executive chef at the Italian Cultural Centre. “I think they should do it once a year.”
The ICC tent, whose menu included meatball sandwiches, sausages and polenta, had people lined up for a block.