Italian festival kicks off this weekend

Italian Festival (2016)

The booths are up, so light the lights. The annual Southington Italian-American festival opens this Friday, at 5 p.m., on Center Street. This year’s festival promises a wide range of activities throughout the weekend.

The event, sponsored by the Sons of Italy, Sorelle d’Italia and Southington UNICO takes place July 29 through July 31 on the lower portion of Center Street. This is the Festival’s 12th year of promoting and supporting Italian heritage and culture in the community.

Festival hours are Friday, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.  Live entertainment, food tents and booths, and a children’s carnival will run throughout the weekend.

New this year to the festival are Italian singers Amerino and Maria, who hail from the Naples region in Italy. The singers will perform Saturday, at 9 p.m., with an encore performance on Sunday, at 2 p.m.

A meatball eating contest will also take place on the main stage Saturday, at 4 p.m., with two divisions for children up to 14 years of age, and those 15 and older. The meatballs are donated by Aria in Prospect.

An annual homemade wine contest will be held on Saturday, at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, at 10 a.m., the festival features an outdoor Italian mass followed by a procession with the statue of the Madonna della Strada. This year’s mass will be held in honor of the late Arthur and Helen DellaVecchia.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Friday

5:00—Festival opens

5:00—Dance City & the Arts (stage)

5:15—Marty Roche (stage)

5:30—Joe Casso (stage)

5:45—Walter Martin (stage)

6:15—Peter Massaro (stage)

7:30—Kelly Nowik (stage)

8:00—Vincent Ricciardi (stage)

9:00—Brian Miller (stage)

Saturday

1:00—Festival opens

1:30—Tina Riccio & the Young Italians (stage)

2:00—Homemade wine contest.

2:00—Great Leone Magic (under the tent)

2:15—Olympic Taekwondo demo (stage)

2:45—Naomi Cipriani (stage)

3:00—Southington Stars (stage)

4:00—Meatball eating contest

5:00—Opening Ceremonies (stage)

6:00—Michael Ricciardone & Katerina Belales (stage)

6:30—Charley Tiernan (stage)

6:45—Christina Luna (stage)

7:30—Teo Ricciardella & Marcello Sparagna (stage)

9:00—Italian singers Amerino and Maria (stage)

Sunday

10:00—Outdoor Italian mass, followed by Madonna della Strada procession.

12:00—Ciro DiLorenzo (stage)

2:00—Italian singers Amerino and Maria (stage)

5:00—Closing Ceremonies & Announcements (stage)

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