About 15,000 people are expected to enjoy the sun and the 150-odd stalls at the 29th Island Bay Festival today.
Event co-ordinator Fran De Gregorio said the festival was thought to be the oldest of its kind in Wellington.
The featured event will be the annual blessing of fishing boats based in the bay. The tradition dates back to commemoration of a group of four Island Bay fishermen who drowned after their boat the Santina sank in Cook Strait in 1933.
''It's about goodwill for all the fishermen and safety on the sea.''
The community festival has a strong focus on the suburb's Italian heritage and features an Italian quarter among the 150-odd stalls.
The two-day event yesterday featured a parade with floats from community groups.
''It was our biggest parade yet - it was fantastic,'' Ms De Gregorio said.
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