Wednesday 28 September, 2022

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (15:33): I rise today to inform the house about a much-loved celebration, particularly in my local community of Hartley and indeed the Italian community, which I had the pleasure to attend over the weekend, and that is the celebration of the Madonna di Montevergine.

It was a pleasure to have attended the solemn holy mass in the morning with a number of my parliamentary colleagues to celebrate what is certainly the largest feast in South Australia of its kind. We know that it has been a hard couple of years, but I know that I and the local community were extremely excited to get the chance to celebrate this wonderful feast again. I would especially like to thank the president of the feast, Domenico Zollo, and also the committee, who were instrumental in making the feast of Madonna di Montevergine possible.

I take the time to put on the record my special thanks to the executive committee: Domenico Zollo, the president; Fedele Catalano, the vice president and public officer; Maria Trajkovic, the secretary; Nicola Zollo, vice secretary; Carmela D'Urso, assistant secretary; Michele Piteo, treasurer; Phillip Izzo, vice treasurer and public relations officer; Ennio Cavaiuolo, icon and meetings coordinator; Giovanni Angelino, liturgy coordinator; Michael Razzano, lottery committee representative; Anna Catalano, ladies representative; Carmela Placentino, also ladies representative; Carmine Scalzi, bar manager; Orazio Tedesco, grounds manager; and Mario Mignone, festa banner representative; as well as the members of the association and the Dame di Montevergine.

My thanks go to all the volunteers who spent literally hours and hours each and every week not only looking after the church but preparing for the feast every year. These feasts take tens of thousands of dollars to organise, so I would like to thank the many sponsors for helping to support the feast. Did you know this is actually the 67th anniversary of the Festa of the Madonna di Montevergine? When you look through the booklet the committee prepares each and every year, you will see the absolute plethora of companies and organisations that continue to support this feast. It really is a vital and vibrant part of our community.

I would also like to thank the many men and women who helped with the catering on the day. There were many members of parliament from both sides of the house who attended the feast, and that speaks volumes for the kind of support the festa enjoys. I particularly want to thank Nonna's Cucina, who put on an absolute feast, making sure that they kept the volunteers and the supporters of the feast fed all day. Thank you very much to Nonna's Cucina.

The festival is obviously, amongst other things, a taste of Italian culture and cuisine, and it continues to offer a vast range of festival favourites, including plenty of pasta, trippa, zeppole, porchetta, pizza and plenty of wines, beer, spirits and also coffee. What truly makes it worth indulging in is that it all goes to a fantastic cause.

There was entertainment for literally all ages, entertainment that started around the middle of the day and went right throughout the night. I know that the kids had a lot of fun, as they always do at the festival, with kids' rides, and I believe there were also some farm animals for the kids to look at, enjoy and play with. The celebrations were followed by a traditional parish mass, which was accompanied by the talented Monteverdi Singers and finally concluded with a very festive fireworks show that occurred late into the evening. It was amazing to see thousands and thousands of people who gathered at the feast despite some wintry weather conditions.

We know that the feast is not only much loved but deeply important historically and has a special role to play in the Italian community. As I said, Sunday actually marked the 67th feast of the Madonna di Montevergine. I want to pay tribute to the migrants who contributed much to the state of South Australia all those years ago and who brought their traditions and customs. It is wonderful to represent this part of the world and to see that this festa continues to grow larger and larger each and every year.