The lines have been repainted on Center Street. The stage and booths are set up. It won’t be long before the downtown streets are filled with the smells and sounds of Italy.
The Southington Italian-American Festival is set to open this Friday at 5 p.m., and the schedule is jam packed with performances beginning with Marcello Sparagna and Tio Ricciardella at 5 p.m. as crowds begin to pack in for opening ceremonies at 7 p.m.
Friday night’s schedule includes Sparagna and Ricciardella before and after the opening ceremonies, followed by Tarantella folk dancing at 8:30 p.m., performed by Sorelle d’Italia. The night’s activities culminate with fireworks at 9 p.m., followed by the Italian singer Savio DiMartino from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
Saturday’s schedule is filled with more performances on the main stage, featuring Italian-themed productions and local groups. Tina’s Kids will open the stage at 1 p.m., followed by the Sam Vinci band from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Performances include a tai quando demonstraton (4 p.m.), Charley Tiernan (4:30 p.m.), Vittorio DiCarlo and Valeria Castro (5 to 6:30 p.m.), Michael Ciulia (6:30 p.m.), and Bob Luparello (7:30 p.m.).
The day culminates with Tarantella dancing at 8:30 p.m. and an encore performance by DiMartino from 9 to 11 p.m.
From 2 to 5 p.m., there will be face painting at the booth on lower Center Street.
Sunday’s schedule will begin at 10 a.m. with the annual outdoor Italian mass, followed by the Madonna della Strada procession.
Entertainments will include Ambrosiani (12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.) with Sorelle d’Italia’s Tarantella at 2:30 p.m.
Closing ceremonies and raffle drawings will be held at 5 p.m. on the main stage.
Parking, Road closures
Southington Police announced road closures for the Italian American Festival which takes place Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29 on Center Street between North Liberty Street and High Street. This section of roadway will be closed to all vehicular traffic starting Friday at 6 a.m. through Sunday at 10 p.m. The “no parking order” will be in effect during that timeframe.
Vehicles will be detoured around the festival using High Street to North Liberty or Center Street. Liberty Street traffic can use either North Liberty to High Street or South Center to High Street.
There will be no parking on both sides of the following streets: High Street from North Main to Center Street, Center Street from High Street to Water Street, all of South Center Street, Liberty Street from Columbus Avenue to North Liberty Street, and all of North Liberty Street.
The east side of South Center Street has a painted white line, which runs the length of the Rails to Trails. Parking is allowed inside the white line.
Handicapped parking will be provided in the municipal parking lot on North Liberty Street. Police said to enter the lot from North Liberty Street.
Special events during the festival include a fireworks display and an outdoor church mass.
The mass will take place on Sunday on the stage at 10 a.m., followed by a blessed saint procession starting at approximately 11 a.m. through local streets. The fireworks display will be set off from the Mill Street dog park on Friday night (rain date, Saturday). The section of Mill Street between North Main Street and Water Street will be blocked off starting at 2 p.m. on Friday and reopening at 11 p.m. This will create a safety zone and traffic will be detoured around the Mill Street closure.
For the firework display, the dog park will be closed to the public from 12 p.m. on Friday and will reopen at 12 p.m. on Saturday. If the Saturday rain date is implemented, these closures will be in effect at the same timeframes beginning Saturday through Sunday.
Police note that no dogs, skateboards, in-line skates/rollerblades, bicycles, scooters (gas, battery or push) or motorized vehicles will be allowed on the grounds during the event per Town Ordinance, Sec. 12-91. Police dogs and service dogs are exempt.
More information for this year’s festival:
Last year’s festival