La Festa – Food & Wine


July 29, 2023

10:00 am

- 11:30 pm






Fogarty Park, 42-50 Esplanade, Cairns City



Get ready for an Italian extravaganza like no other!

Join us on Saturday 29 July 2023 at Fogarty Park for a spectacular day of family fun, as we celebrate all things Italian culture.

Indulge in the mouth-watering flavours of Italy with an amazing array of food and drink stalls, featuring the very best of Italian culinary delights from different regions of Italy. This year we have doubled the amount of food vendors and added in more varieties of foods , you will be so spoiled for choices. Savour the taste of Italy’s finest wine, coffee, and other delicious treats that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. This year on top of the famous Aperol Combi Van we will have a proper wine bar showcasing the finest Italians wines.

But that’s not all, we have an amazing line-up of entertainment that will make you feel like you are in the heart of Italy. Be mesmerized by the live performances of Siesta Cartel, Made in Italy Show, Ross Maio and DJ Marciano showcasing the best of Italian music and dancing.

You won’t want to miss the incredible pizza acrobatics, folkloristic dances and live music. And if you’re bringing the kids, there will be plenty of activities to keep them entertained and engaged.

This is the perfect family day out, and we can’t wait to see you there! So, mark your calendars and get ready to experience the ultimate Italian Cultural Celebration at Fogarty Park.


  • Adult: $20
  • Child (5 – 16 years): $10
  • Infants (0 – 4 years): FREE
  • Family Pass ( 2 adults + 2 children): $55
  • Group of 10: $180
  • Prices don’t include booking fees


For all the pictures of the 2022 edition, please click here.


James Liotta MC

James Liotta is an award winning performer with over 25 years of experience and has toured constantly around Australia as a stand up comedian alongside ethnic comedy icons such as: Joe Avati, George Kapiniaris and Tahir. He is well known for having MC’d countless Italian festivals across Australia as well as major events both corporate and public. James has appeared on numerous TV shows and TVC’s over the last two decades but most recently as Cousin Lino in the new FAT PIZZA – Back in Business series on the 7 Network. He has also co-hosted and co-produced his own late night comedy talk show on Channel 9 GO in 2014. In 2019 he was accepted to participate on Australia’s Got Talent where his stand up comedy performance received 4 ‘yes’ votes on the night of airing on channel 7. He continuous to tour around the country both as a Comic and MC with a focus on his co-produced comedy shows alongside his partner in crime Piero Viavattene with their side-splitting antics as Pippo and Pasquale who have amassed over 5 Million views collectively online and have sold thousands of tickets to their live stage shows.

Siesta Cartel

Siesta Cartel are a unifying musical movement led by a group of young Italians from Melbourne whose hearts beat to the music they play from a time long ago, where their beloved traditions was born. On a mission to unite all Italians in Australia with the music that helped raise them and they still love today.

“The sound of that music reminds me of my heritage. That sound today is Siesta Cartel”

Michelle Serret-Cursio

Michelle Serret-Cursiohas established herself as one of Australia’s foremost vocalists.

Don’t miss Michelle’s powerhouse performance at Cairns Italian Festival where she will feature live on stage with Siesta Cartel.

Michelle’s powerful and captivating voice has featured on numerous Australian TV Shows including Dancing With The Stars, The Voice, AFL Grand Final, Hey Hey It’s Saturday and numerous others. Michelle has performed alongside world class artists including Ray Charles, Hugh Jackman, Simply Red, Billy Ocean, Kylie Minogue, John Farnham, Olivia Newton, Tina Arena and many more. A career highlight was a feature performance at The World Tourism Awards in Abu Dhabi for guests including US President Bill Clinton.

Michelle’s album ‘Should I Be’ gained her both local and international recognition, and features Michelle’s own compositions along with classic songs recorded in Italian, French & Spanish, available on all streaming platforms.

Made In Italy The Show

Enjoy Italian music from each decade

After Sell Out Shows, pre COVID, we are back and can’t wait to be a part of the 1st ever Cairns Italian Festival.

‘Made in Italy’ The Show is a new sleek Production that will take you down memory lane. This Show will have you reminiscing, taking you as far back as the 50’s as we celebrate timeless Italian music from each decade.

Crossing over generations, Made in Italy The Show appeals to all ages as we pay tribute to artists that include Dean Martin, Jimmy Fontana, Umberto Tozzi, Pupo, Ricchie e Poveri and Marcella Bella.

This professional accomplished 7-piece line up will not disappoint. Featuring Tony Mazell, Marianna Gallifuoco and Sara Mazell on vocals, it doesn’t get much better than this.

‘Made in Italy The Show’ is the ultimate Celebration of Italian Music. Not to be missed!

Youssef Ben Touati – Pizza Master

A life spent between the stove, the wood-fired oven, and many travels, always chasing his passion: pizza. This is the story of Youssef Ben Touati, born in Perugia, Italy, 28 years ago.

Youssef comes from a multicultural family of restaurateurs; An Italian mother and a French Tunisian father led Youssef to explore food and ethnic cuisine from all around the world.

Youssef approached the kitchen for the very first time when he was only a young teenager. His family owned a restaurant in Tuscany, in the beautiful Argentario peninsula where he used to spend his summer holidays. After finishing school, Youssef decided to start his first working experience at his uncle’s restaurant “La Casetta”, in Perugia.

After a few months, he realized his job would develop into something serious. Youssef loved working in the restaurant kitchen and never felt tired of cooking.

After this first experience at his uncles’ restaurant, he had the occasion to approach some real master of Neapolitan pizza. And this is when his passion for the pizza industry began. After just a short period of time, Youssef realized he had the right skills to train together with the Italian National Team of Pizzaioli, at that time guided by Danilo Pagano. Youssef competed in several national and international contests around Italy, winning regional, national and international prizes; He obtained the first place for FreeStyle pizza and a bronze medal for Gourmet pizza at the International Pizza Championship in Rimini in 2013.

He is also a member of the Acrobatic Pizza Italian Team even if he always likes to remember that acrobatic pizza is something playful that has nothing to do with the art of making pizza and all the elaborate techniques involved in dough making.

After having traveled all around Europe together with the Italian National Team, he decided to take a new challenge by moving to Australia. 4 years ago, Youssef took a chance and reached Brisbane when at that time, he could barely speak English. In the beginning, his experience in Australia was a sort of adventure and did not have high expectations. He then decided to stay in Australia when some good work opportunities gave him the chance to grow professionally and share his skills with the Australian pizza industry.

Ross Maio

Ross Maio is a multi award-winning accordionist.

In 1995 he was awarded the MO AWARD for Best Variety Instrumentalist (first solo Accordionist to win this award). He was awarded the Australian Club Entertainment Award for Instrumental Act Of The Year in 1998,2004 and 2007. In July 2008 Ross was asked to feature on accordion with a 65-piece orchestra at Sydney’s State Theatre to premier the Godfather Symphony.

Ross Maio’s birthplace is the beautiful island of Sicily. At the age of 5 his family migrated to Australia (Innisfail.QLD), then by age 10 he commenced accordion studies. As a teenager, already armed with a wide repertoire, Ross was playing regularly at a popular Sydney restaurant. His numerous television appearances range from children’s shows through to Channel 9 Midday Shows, Mornings With Kerri-Anne and SBS International Cabaret.

His career has kept him constantly on the move, captivating audiences not only in the Australian club circuit, but also in leading hotels in Hong Kong, Singapore, The United Arab Emirates, New Caledonia, and Mauritius. He has worked on Cunard Line’s QE2, P&O Cruises, Sagafjord, Princess Cruises in the Mediterranean, Sagarose, Crown Odyssey, Holland America Cruise Line and the Japanese Cruise Ship Asuka.

Ross has performed for the Variety Club’s, Royal Command Performance at the Sydney Opera House in the presence of Royal Guests, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. In 1996 Ross toured Australia and New Zealand supporting the famous Scottish tenor, Kenneth McKellar.

The Mammas

Mareeba’s Comedy Tours Italian Mammas have been welcoming guests at MTG Theatre Restaurants productions for over 20 years.

The fictional characters played by local actors are led by mamma Angelina are modern day comedic characters who love everything Italian; they share their stories, hand gestures and love for food.

This year they will be making a special visit to the 2023 Cairns Italian Festa.

Turning Pointe Dance Studios

Turning Pointe Dance Studios is synonymous with entertainment and are thrilled to be performing at the 2023 Cairns Italian Festival. Enriching the Cairns region for over 25 years, the highly acclaimed local dance troupe has received accolades both interstate and internationally. Dancers will provide a spectacular showcase of dance entertainment throughout the festival ranging from Traditional Italian Dance to much loved Italian Classics, to Current Chart Toppers! In a kaleidoscope of colour, don’t miss this entertainment for the whole family to enjoy!

You can’t have an Italian Festa without a Spaghetti Eating Competition Challenge.

When it comes to pasta, Italy is unrivalled beyond doubt.
As the world’s biggest producers and consumers – approximately twenty-five kilos per person every year, unexpectedly followed by Tunisians – Italians are probably the only people happy to eat pasta more than once every day.

And you? How much pasta can you handle?

During the competition, each participants will get a large bowl of spaghetti weight to be identical. Players must eat the spaghetti without silverware and with their hands behind their backs. The first person to eat all their spaghetti is the winner.
Make sure to enter the competition first prize for each category is $500!!

Competition Categories:
Senior category – open to any one aged 16 years or older.
Junior category – open to any one from 12 to 15 years old.

Kids Entertainment

All day kids entertainment provided by qualified teachers with Blue Card. Lots of activities, including pasta necklaces, Venetian masks decoration, kinetic sand boxes, bubble painting, Monna Lisa re-imaging, Cairns Italian Festival canvas bags colouring, face painting, Italian games and reading and relax corner.

Opera Singers

Stephen Mould

Conductor and keyboard player

Sydney-born Stephen Mould is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 1985, he moved to London to continue his studies at the Royal Academy of Music. During this time, he was active as an orchestral and choral conductor and as a freelance repetiteur. In 1988, he was appointed Head of Music at the Lyric Opera of Queensland, in Brisbane and, in addition to conducting several productions for that company, was also engaged for concerts with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and conducted opera productions with the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

In 1990, Mr Mould returned to Europe and was engaged as a conductor and musical assistant by opera houses and festivals in Germany, Belgium, Norway and Italy. In 1990, he was engaged as an assistant at the Théatre de la Monnaie, Brussels and in 1992 was appointed to the staff of Opera Frankfurt as assistant to the Music Director. During this time, he was also engaged as a teacher at the music conservatorium in Frankfurt. In 1996, he joined the music staff of Opera Australia.

Subsequently, Mr Mould has undertaken engagements for the Sydney Festival, the Melbourne Festival, Symphony Australia and the Sydney Philharmonic Choirs. He was also engaged for State Opera of South Australia’s productions of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (1998 and 2004) and Parsifal (2002). Stephen Mould was Head of Music at Opera Australia between 2004 and 2008 and, since 1998, has regularly appeared as conductor for the Company. His repertoire has included: La bohème, Simon Boccanegra, Die Zauberflöte, Le nozze di Figaro, La Voix Humaine, Rusalka, Carmen and The Makropulos Secret.

In addition, he has appeared with the Sydney and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, the SBS Youth Orchestra, and is a regular guest with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. In 2006, he conducted Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for the Macau International Music Festival and, in 2008, made his American debut for Baltimore Opera conducting Madama Butterfly. He also appeared in New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia.

Stephen Mould is Senior Lecturer in Conducting and Operatic Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney. Recent operatic engagements have included The Mikado and Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Australia, Così fan tutte for Opera Queensland, Messiah for New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and The Puccini Gala and The Verdi Spectacular for State Opera of South Australia.

Alteouise deVaughn

Mezzo Soprano – Local Port Douglas resident

Mezzo-soprano Alteouise deVaughn has performed a wide variety of roles with opera companies in the United States and abroad, including New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Omaha, Hawaii Opera Theater, Arkansas Opera Theater, Eugene Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, and in Cagliari, Rio de Janeiro, and Trieste. Other career highlights include performing with the Atlanta Symphony in Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time and with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in Orfeo and Euridice, as well as appearing in New York City Opera’s nationally televised production of Carmen. DeVaughn is a winner of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, the George London Career Grant Silver Medal, New York City Opera’s Stanley Tausend Award, and the Leontyne Price Award from the National Negro Business Women’s Association.

Adrian Strooper

Local Cairns resident

Australian born tenor Adrian Strooper, has recently returned to Australia from Germany, where he was 10 years a resident soloist at the Komische Oper Berlin. His many roles included Il Conte Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Sivilgia, Lenski in Jewgeni Onegin, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He regularly performs Tamino in the world renowned production of Die Zauberflöte appearing at the Opera Comique, Paris, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow and Liceu, Barcelona along with the 2019 Perth, Adelaide and Auckland festivals. In 2017 he was a guest at the Adelaide Festival in the role of Jonathan in Barrie Kosky’s Glynbourne production of Saul by Händel and debuted as Tom Rakewell, The Rakes Progress, in a concert performance at Warsaw Festival with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Further roles in Adrian’s repertoire include, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Lysander in Sommernachtstraum Britten, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Jupiter in Semele by Händel, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, Agenore in Il re Pastore by Mozart, Pylades in Händels’ Oreste and Der Junge Graf in Die Soldaten by Zimmerman.

Adrian has performed in a guest capacity at the Semperoper Dresden, Oper Leipzig, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Theater Bremen, Toulon Opera, New Zealand Opera and Australian Opera. His concert repertoire includes the works of Haydn, Händel, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and arias in the St Matthews Passion and the arias and Evangelist in the Johannes Passion. Adrian has sung with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Noord Nederlandse Orchestra, Latvijas Concerti in Riga and Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012 Adrian performed at the Innsbruck Festspiel Der Alte Musik, as Armidoro in La Stellidaura Vendicante by Provenzale with conductor Allesandro de Marchi, whereby a live recording was made and subsequently released by Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.

Between 2010 and 2012 Adrian performed Tamino in Peter Brooks critically acclaimed and award winning Une Flute Enchentée, subsequently embarking on a world tour where he performed at some of the largest music and arts festivals, including the Lincoln Centre Festival in New York, Les Nuits in Lyon, The Barbican in London, Piccolo Teatro Milan, Buenos Aires Festival, Sao Paolo Festival and The Music Festival Bremen.

In 2009 Adrian was a member of the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festspiele receiving master classes with Thomas Quasthof, Christa Ludwig and Michael Schade and studying the roles of Rinaldo in Armida by Haydn and Septimius in Theodora by Händel. He was subsequently invited to return in 2010 for the role of Benvolio in Gounods’ Romeo et Juliette with Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Adrian was engaged by the Festival D’aix en Provence in 2006 as Pastore/Spirito 1 in L’Orfeo conducted by Rene Jacobs.

Catherine Knight

Soprano – Local Cairns resident

A Cairns local born and bred Cathy has been singing for as long as she can remember. She started singing with the late local legend Sheila Knudson while at school. Over her many years of training with Sheila she obtained her Associate Diploma in Music Australia (Voice) from AMEB, and was Champion of Champions Soloist at the North Queensland Eisteddfod on 3 different occasions. While by day she is the Admin Manager for a local building subcontracting firm, she is also heavily involved with many local music performances including the Cairns Choral Society where she has performed roles such as Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and Viviane in Legally Blonde, with Douglas Theatre Arts Group as Sr Mary Amnesia in Nunsense and Maria in Sound of Music which she also reprised for Atherton Performing Arts. She has been a part of Opera Qld Community Chorus Projects Ruddigore and Project Rossini. Cathy is loving working with Alteousie whose has championed and encouraged local performers with her love of opera.

Holly Dowell

Holly started singing with the wonderful Alteouise De Vaughn when she was 6 years old. She has participated in Cairns eisteddfod since the age of 7. Holly loves performing at the Clink theatre where she has been involved in many musicals and shows. Such as Annie the musical, A Night at The Opera, The sound of music, The Wizard of Oz, and more. Holly recently earned the distinction of winning the 2022 girls 14 year and over vocal aggregate award at the Cairns eistedfodd. Holly loves to Sing and act as it truly makes her happy and is excited to see what the future holds.

Rachel Fulston

Originally from North Queensland, Rachael has been performing most of her life. She started dancing at 3, singing at 8 and went on to use her experience to complete a Bachelor of Music Theatre after graduating high school.

Rachael then moved down to Sydney where she landed a professional contract as a performer on Fred Olsen Cruises, which made her versatile, utilising all her singing, dancing and acting experience.

Upon returning to Sydney, she joined the Rockdale Opera Company and work with a few community groups. Rachael has played many diverse roles, including Phyllis in Iolanthe, Cupid in Orpheus and the Underworld, Sarah in Guys and Dolls, Lily in The Secret Garden and Aldonza in Man of La Mancha.

She returned to Cairns 4 years ago and performed in A Night at The Opera, Spamalot and featured in many events around the region. Rachael is excited to embark on a new adventure with Caro voices and looks forward to the upcoming opportunities this company brings to Cairns.

Chris Burcin

Chris has taught classroom music in Australia (Prep-Yr 12), New Zealand (Yr 9-13), the USA (Grades K-6) and Samoa (Yr 6-11). He has also taught lessons in piano, voice, trumpet and choral conducting, as well as classroom drama and some dance.

Chris currently teaches Music and Religious Education at St. Monica’s College, Cairns, Queensland, where he also conducts HarMonica, the 16 voice choir. He co-conducts the Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir with Lyn Williams and has co-conducted Gondwana Singers at the Gondwana National Choral School in Sydney since January 2014.

Before a brief stint teaching Music at Edge Hill State School he was HOD Music & Performing Arts at Waimea College for 10 years from 2002. He taught Year 9-13 Music and conducted Belle a Cappella, the college’s national award-winning chamber choir. He has conducted the concert orchestra, was musical director for the school production “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and established the school’s first Theatre Sports team.

Chris has conducted choirs of all ages– from the 90-strong Year 6 Choir at Kingston Elementary School (Plymouth, U.S.A., 1997-98) to Opera North (Whangarei, 2001–guest conductor) to Polyhymnos Chamber Choir at the Nelson School of Music (2002-05).

He was Associate Conductor of the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir 2007-08.