Italian-American Festival is a decade old

By Lindsay Carey
Staff Writer
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
Marcantonio  Comedian
Ron Zapulla and his band   Pop and Italian American favorites

Saturday-2 p.m.
By Request  Band pop music
Kids maqic Show by the Great Leone
Kids Carnival
Southington Stars (young singers & entertainers)
Heather LaRosa     Pop Singer
Missy Cipriani
Opening ceremonies
Reilly Lincavicks
Charlie Tiernan
Kelly Nowik
Jillian Calliuette
Alexandra Hernandes
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

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