The shows included a cooking demonstration by The Cooking Ladies and a lively performance preview by the Tarantella kids dance group.

The Cooking Ladies – a group of Italian nonnas and mammas – served up a big dish of pasta al pomodoro to hungry customers.

“[Their] cooking is always to die for,” one happy pasta-muncher said.

The Tarantella kids dance troupe took to the tree-lined floor with tambourines and red skirts, to skip and leap in joyful tandem in the Top End.

One viewer described the performance as “superlative and magnificent”.

These showcases were just a snippet of the full festival program which will come alive at the Darwin Italian Festival this Saturday.

The program features international, national and local acts including Flag Show Italia, The Rustica Project and Dolce Entertainment.

Italian Festival Association Chair Ross Finocchiaro is pleased the festival offers such a wide variety of Italian attractions.

“Not only will festival goers be able to enjoy a huge variety of authentic Italian food, we will also have Italian entertainment all day,” Finocchiaro said.

“James Liotta will be this year’s MC which is fantastic because he is an award-winning Italo-Australian actor with years of experience, so it will be great to see him engaging with people down at the festival.”

A variety of Italian dishes will be on offer showcasing the country’s diverse regions and cuisines, with more than 20 food and drink stalls running.

“There will be many amazing traditional Italian desserts including gelato, cakes, cannoli, homemade chocolates and spiedini di Nutella or Nutella skewers, which are famous in the Northern regions of Italy,” Finocchiaro said.

“We are only two days away from the festival now so we are all getting excited for the day which we know will be plenty of fun for the whole family.”

To launch this year’s festival, flag throwing group Sansepolcro Flag Wavers from Italy will be previewing their talents on Friday at 12:00 pm in the Smith Street Mall.

The Darwin Italian Festival will take place at Civic Park in Darwin on Saturday May 11, from 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

Head online for more information.