By JEN CARDINES
Center Street was bustling this past weekend as visitors poured onto the street for the 12th annual Italian-American Festival. Many vendors lined the streets offering food, beverages, jewelry and more.
The Italian culture was kept alive with sausage and peppers, pasta faggioli, pizza, and sweet treats to satisfy a hungry crowd. Castello Pizza from West Main Street in Meriden featured fried Oreos, alongside their eggplant grinders, both of which were a huge hit.
Pizza was sold by the slice from Nonna Artemisia’s Pizzeria, a family restaurant local to Center Street.
In addition to the food, various talents were showcased on the stage. Saturday afternoon, children from a Sunday morning Italian class performed music and skits that they prepared. The class was led by Tina Riccio, a world language instructor at Southington High School.
The main attraction for the weekend was a performance from Amerino and Maria, two singers that came from Naples, Italy.
To the right of the stage, the Italian Rosary Society had a tent where a raffle was being held. The society, consisting of about 45 members, is a non-profit organization of women who get together on the first Tuesday of every month to sing and say the rosary.
The money from their raffle will be going to help other non-profits. The Rosary Society aims to help others in the community that are in need.
Zoe Di Chello, the granddaughter of one of the committee members Maria Di Chello, stated that aside from this festival, “the women also take part in the Festa de la Dona (the festival of women) which praises women for all that they do.”
Zoe said that she hopes to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps as a committee member one day. The other women on the committee include Pierna Kowalctyk, Sue Votino, Ana Lopriato, Antoinette Barbato, and Robin Bores.
Festival coordinators Antonio Cusano and Bob Triano were very pleased with the weekend’s turnout. Cusano mentioned that there was an “outstanding turnout because the weather broke,” referring to Friday evening, and noted that Saturday afternoon the street was “truly packed.”
Triano, the event’s chairman emphasized the importance of Sunday’s mass, sponsored by the Della Vecchia funeral home. “It’s the biggest part because it mimics the traditional small village festivals in Italy.”
Photos by TAMMI NAUDUS