10 Things You Need to Know about Ferragosto

Last updated July 2019

Want to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes of Italy? The spirit of Italian culture comes alive every August in the City of Canada Bay’s largest annual event – Ferragosto.

Indulge in delicious Italian street fare, watch live music and performances, find out more about local businesses or simply sit back with a glass of red and soak up the buzz.

Here is everything you need to know about this vibrant community street festival in Five Dock and how it all began.

  1. In Italy, Ferragosto is a public holiday celebrated on August 15. It is a huge celebration throughout the country and aside from the day itself, the week around Ferragosto is usually marked with concerts, outdoor festivals, bonfires and plenty of feasting with friends and family. It also marks the height of the Italian summer when many Italians head away to the beach.
  2. Historically, Ferragosto is an ancient tradition that dates back to the year 18 BC when Emperor Augustus created a holiday, ‘Feriae Augusti’ or ‘the festivals of Augustus’ to provide a period of rest after the harvest. It also has religious roots and is known as the ‘Day of Assumption’ in Roman Catholicism when Virgin Mary ascended to heaven.
  3. In Sydney, Ferragosto began in 1998 as an initiative of Five Dock’s Main Street Committee.
  4. It was originally held at the Garfield Street car park for the first few years but as it grew, it moved to Great North Road. It has now expanded from Queens Road to Lyons Road – approximately 800 metres in length plus most side streets.
  5. This year’s event will be held on Sunday August 18 on Great North Road from 10am to 4pm and is the 22nd year of Ferragosto.
  6. Last year it attracted a huge crowd of almost 110,000 people – making it the City of Canada Bay’s largest annual event.
  7. More than 300 local retailers now get involved with tasty and authentic Italian street food a big focus. Think creamy canolis and deep-fried zeppole, golden arancini, piadinas and mouth-watering pastas. Local chefs also give live cooking demonstrations. Dine al-fresco or wander along the street while you sample all the treats. Market stalls line the path so you can shop for handcrafted goods, like homemade marmalades, wine, clothes and jewellery. Many businesses even give away free sample bags.
  8. If you can tear yourself away from the food, there is a range of other entertainment on offer including free children’s rides and activities, gelato eating competitions, wine tastings and impressive displays of Italian vehicles – such as Mini Fiats, Ducati Bikes and Alfa Romeos.
  9. Attendees can also watch spectacular dance and music performances across five stages.
  10. Canada Bay Club are proud sponsors of the event and we’ll be down there at our stall with a toy lucky dip and some brochures. Come down and say hi! We’ll see you there!

Image by Christina Brandalise via Weekend Notes

Here's a few more blogs you might enjoy