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Italians bring the party

Carmen D’Onofrio was eight when Italian Day was last celebrated on Commercial Drive.

Carmen D’Onofrio was eight when Italian Day was last celebrated on Commercial Drive.

Nearly three decades later it remains an indelible moment of his childhood.

“People were everywhere,” said D’Onofrio, president of the Commercial Drive Business Society.

“Flags were waving. Horns sounding. People were in just such a good mood. It was a beautiful day.”

The fact the festival was held the same day that Italy captured its third World Cup probably didn’t hurt the mood either.

“People were eating and celebrating. I remember all these colours and the smell of pizza and barbecue sausages. It was fabulous.”

Italian Day had grown so big, D’Onofrio said, that none of the individual merchants who organized it could afford the insurance.

A partnership between the Commercial Drive Business Society and the Italian Cultural Centre led to its return Sunday after a 28-year hiatus.

Its revival has been in the works for the past five or six years and has been encouraged by the success by other neighbourhood events, like the Punjabi Market and the Greek Day celebrations on West Broadway.