Festa Italiana 2012: Bigger and Better Than Ever!

Festa Italiana 2012: Bigger and Better Than Ever!
Mark Roscoe Design (photo by Steve Starr)

I'd never been to Festa Italiana, but according to locals, this was the year to go since it was "bigger and better than ever"!  Produced by Vasta & Associates, this year's 6th Annual Taylor Street Festa Italiana had something for everyone, attracted more than 50,000 during its four day run and was bigger by five blocks.

The multiple stages showcased talents that included Moreno Fruzzetti, Tony Spavone, Dominic Mantuano, Aaron Caruso and Packy Angelo Ciaravino.  The line-up of pop and rock entertainment included "Chicago's Entertainer" Ron Hawking, Hair Bangers Ball, The Legendary Drifters, Mike & Joe, Liquid Soul, Your Villain, My Hero, This Must Be The Band, Acoustic Generation, Jaw Potato, Peter Guerin, John Vincent, Ten Foot Tail, Breakfast Club and Hot Sauce Committee.

A fabulous fashion show presented by ZZAZZ Production's Tracey DiBuono featured all local designers and included exquisite collections from Kate Boggiano, Cettina, Mark Roscoe Design, Loreta Corsetti, Couture Millinery, Paul Sisti Creations, Mona Lisa Boutique and Silver Elements, a jewelry line from accessory designer Marla Lenza Zegart and The Lovehammer's Marty Casey.  This was a fabulous production, as only ZZAZZ can do, and had the large crowd cheering with every model run.  "I was thrilled to see Festa Italiana Chicago salute Italian food, singers, family and fashion done in a professional production with a salute to Chicago's talented Italian Americans in the fashion industry.  From Milan to Taylor St., they walked in great style," said DiBuono.

Fun activities included a grape stomping competition, a meatball eating contest (hosted by presenting sponsors Turano Baking Company and Fontanini) and a bocce ball tournament.  Giancarlo Turano II presided over the meatball eating contest with a female participant downing the most sandwiches (8) in two minutes!

The food stands were out-of-this-world with pizza, pasta, pork chop sandwiches, Italian-style corn on the cob (parmesan cheese and butter!), steamed clams, gelato,  meatball sandwiches, Italian beef and sausage sandwiches, Italian ice, grilled calamari and all of the wine and beer you could drink! There were also stands carrying toys for the kids, jewelry, handmade clothing and handbags among many other offerings.

A portion of the proceeds benefitted the University Village Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the economic and residential development of the neighborhood.

Besides Turano Baking Company and Fontanini, other sponsors included The Momsay,  Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC, Peroni, St. Ignatius College Prep, Italian Cultural Institute, Rosebud Restaurant, University of Illinois Chicago, Italian Chamber of commerce, University of Illinois Hospitals & Health Sciences and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

I was thrilled to be there covering this magical festival for my show, Candid Candace Chicago, on Chicago's ONLY online network, www.Watch312.com!  So stay tuned for a fun segment coming soon!

Special thanks to Rebecca Kussmann (Bettie Bomb PR) and Stephanie Krol (SKPR) for bringing this lively event to my attention!  You can bet I won't miss it NEXT year!

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  • One of my favorite summer fests! My husband and I have been going for years! We saw The Drifters Friday night and they were FABULOUS! One of them is an original member and still going strong at 74!

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