by Joanne Spata
Even the record-breaking low temperatures on Oct. 6 and 7 couldn’t cool the spirit of Casa Italia’s sixth annual Fall Festival. People flocked to Stone Park to share in the celebration, as the grapes were crushed and the aroma of a freshly roasted pig on a spit, grilled sausage and freshly baked brick oven pizza wafted across the beautiful grounds, to name just a few of the delightful sights and sounds.
And if the scent of Italian delicacies weren’t enough to lure folks to the fest, the sound of Italian musical favorites floating on the crisp autumn air certainly did. With entertainment provided by JoJo & Gizep, Johnny Maggio, Marco Margaritelli, Onesti Entertainment Inc. and Jack Miuccio, the vast spectrum of Italian music was covered, from Old-World standards to European techno-beat.
Children’s games took place under the direction of CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee. Older children rushed to the playing fields to partake in games of skill and physical agility. Meanwhile the younger kids merrily wove their way through the bouncy village, selected pumpkins, or relaxed while getting their face painted. A great time was had by all.
And what would a fall festival be without wine-, cider- and cheese-making demonstrations? Under the direction of artisans Antonio D’Ambrosio and John Francese, the ancient art of winemaking was not only demonstrated, but taste-tested as well. And what goes better with wine than cheese? Through the generosity of Dominic Gambino and Tony’s Finer Foods, the traditional method of making cheese and ricotta were both displayed and sampled. Yum!
The sixth annual autumnal extravaganza was sponsored by the Italian American Executives of Transportation, Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, Calabresi in America, BJ Cola, Midway Dodge, Turano Baking Company, Forza, the Bar Experience, and Unification of Italian Americans.
We are grateful to our vendors, donors, guests and committee for making this year’s Italian Fall Festival a great event and for helping to support Casa Italia.