By Lindsay Carey
The annual Southington Italian-American Festival reaches the decade milestone later this month. The tradition continues with authentic Italian food, music and a homemade wine contest at the tenth annual Southington Italian-American Festival, July 25-27 on Center Street.
“It is important to bring back the Italian traditions and heritages for the younger people, so that it can continue,” said Joe LaPorte, co-chairman of the Italian-American festival representing the UNICO club of Southington. “Years ago there were many Italian American festivals, now there aren’t as many.”
According to LaPorte, one of the originators of the festival, there had not been an Italian American festival in town in 60 years until the UNICO club and the Sons of Italy formed one a decade ago.
Every year, the Italian American Festival Committee of Southington begins gathering in January to begin working out the details of the weekend festival.
“I look forward to seeing the people,” said Bob Triano, co-chairman of the committee representing the Sons of Italy. “It feels good to be able to listen to Italian music and eat Italian food and just share our culture.”
Some businesses that contribute to the festival are the UNICO club, the Sons of Italy, the Southington Jaycees, Napoli Café, Deli & Catering, Riccio Family Gelato, Northeast Produce, Luigi’s Italian pastries, Dina’s Restaurant, Sorelle d’Italia and Brixx Pizza Kitchen.
For the seventh year, the homemade wine contest will return to the Southington Italian-American Festival on Saturday.
Both red and white wine will be accepted and judged separately. There is no entry fee for submission, and bottles can be dropped off at either Northeast Produce Regional Market in Hartford or 10 Robert Jackson Way in Plainville between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. or at the Verizon Wireless on Queen Street in Southington between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Commencing the weekend is an outdoor Sunday Mass in Italian and a procession to follow. LaPorte said that the procession comes from an old Italian tradition.
A statue, which was donated by Patrick Baker & Sons Inc., is carried around the street by a group of men and the women typically present the statue with a ribbon. Dollar bills can then be pinned to the ribbon in exchange for a favor from the saints.
The entertainment line up for the Italian-American festival is as follows:
(Courtesy of Joe LaPorte)
Friday at 5 p.m.
Ron Casanta Pop
Roberto Pavarotto Pop
Marty Roche Pop
Emily & Vincent Ricciardi Classical, Semi Classical and Broadway
Ron Zapulla and his band Pop and Italian American favorites
By Request Band pop music
Kids maqic Show by the Great Leone
Southington Stars (young singers & entertainers)
Heather LaRosa Pop Singer
all the above are pop and broadway type singers
Noel Morabista Italian American
Gene DiNapoli Pop and Specialty songs
Christina Luna Pop & Broad way
Aaron Caruso Classical Semi Classical Italian American
10 a.m.-noon-Italian Mass & Procession
Angelo Ruggiero Italian American
Sound Alternatives Italian American Band
Marcello Sparagna Italian American
Raffle & Closing