Viva la Festa! was the promise, and that’s what was delivered by the Hepburn Swiss Italian Festa, a revitalised celebration of community, food and culture after a three-year COVID hiatus.

From an opening event featuring long-term Festa patron Anna Burke AO and marathon legend Steve Moneghetti AM as 2023 Festa ambassador, to Sunday night’s closing lantern parade – and fireworks! – the community turned out, visitors turned up and many memories were shared and created.

Primary schools, local artists, community groups, performers, venues, business operators, restaurants, churches and more all contributed to and shared in the successful return of a much-loved tradition.

“We set out this year with a new committee determined to deliver a Festa in the tradition built over 30 years of this unique community celebration,” said Festa committee president, Stephen Carr.

“So many people have powerful memories of past Festas, but we also have so many new faces and ideas from people with no memory of Festa who bought into the concept and helped to create such a strong foundation for the future.

“Local businesspeople got behind us in ways we didn’t expect, and Hepburn Shire Council’s financial and in-kind support was vital,” he said. “We must thank everybody who sponsored, donated, contributed, purchased, hosted, created and took part. Viva la Festa!”