By SHERIDAN CYR
The 14th annual Southington Italian-American Festival will feature—for the first time—a fireworks display and an entertainer from Naples, Italy.
The street festival takes place from Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29 on lower Center Street and is hosted by the town’s three Italian organizations: Sons of Italy, UNICO of Southington and the d’Italia of America. All three non-profit organizations share the common goal of promoting Italian heritage and culture within the community.
“This is our 14th year offering this wonderful slice of culture to our community,” said Italian Festival Committee member Dawn Miceli. “Every year we try to add a couple of new components, and this year it’s the fireworks display on Friday night. After watching the wonderful entertainers on our stage, festival-goers will be able to stay in their seats and enjoy the fireworks overhead.”
The festival kicks off Friday evening with opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. A wide range of entertainment is scheduled on the lower Center Street stage starting at 5 p.m. and continuing through 11 p.m. A fireworks display is scheduled for 9 p.m. (rain date is Saturday at 9 p.m.) and will be followed by a performance by singer Savio DeMartino
who hails from Naples, Italy.
On Saturday, the festival opens at 1 p.m. and continues through 11 p.m. Planned entertainment for the afternoon and evening includes the Sam Vinci Quintet and a performance by Bob Luparello, an Italian-American comedian from New York. The last act of the night is another performance by Savio DeMartino.
Also new this year is a performance all three days of the festival of the tarantella dance by 12 members of Sorelle d’Italia in America. The lively tarantella is among the most recognized forms of traditional Italian dance accompanied by tambourines and is part of the Italian culture. Southern Italy serves as the birthplace for this folk dance.
The festival continues Sunday morning with a traditional outdoor Italian Mass at 10 a.m. followed by a street procession with the statue of the Madonna della Strada. Food and vendor booths open at noon and entertainment will be provided by Antonio Venditti and the Ambrosiani Band, an Italian band from Rhode Island. The festival concludes at 6 p.m.
This year’s proceeds from the festival’s beverage booth will benefit the Southington Police Cadet program (formerly Police Explorers) and Southington Community Services.
For more information on the event, visit the festival’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SouthingtonItalianFestival).