By Ed Harris
The Italian-American Festival returns to Center Street this weekend. The three-day street festival, managed by the Sons of Italy and the Southington chapter of UNICO, aims to carry on the customs and traditions of the Italian culture.
“It’s a gathering of friends,” said Bill Della Vecchia, who co-chairs the festival with Bob Triano.
Della Vecchia described the event as simple and small, with a street festival atmosphere.
The festival will include 25 food vendors, a wine tasting competition and a wide variety of entertainment highlighted by Italian themed singers and bands.
The festival usually attracts a crowd, though weather can prove to be a hindrance.
“We’ve had a good turnout every year,” said Joe LaPorte, who handles the entertainment for the festival.
Along with the food, music is a large part of the festival, and LaPorte has the stage packed all three days of the festival.
Some returning musical guests include Aaron Caruso and the Southington Stars group. Other musical guests include Roberto Pavortto, Vincent Riccardi and Emily Wright, Marty Roache and an Elvis tribute.
Non musical acts include an Italian magician and the Young Italians group, led by Tina Riccio, which consists of youths that will perform and sing in Italian.
“A lot of people come down,” Della Vecchia said. “It’s similar to the Music on the Green. It’s a festival atmosphere.”
A special outside church mass, a highlight of the festival, will take place at the stage on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. A blessed saint procession will then take place throughout the neighborhood at 11 a.m.
Should it rain, the mass will take place at St. Thomas Church at 11:30 a.m.
See page 5 for details on road closures and restrictions due to the festival.