by Joanne Spata
Do you like wine, cheese and music? Who doesn’t? Now imagine enjoying some of your favorite things while surrounded by the aroma of Italian specialty foods, continuous entertainment, children’s games and beautiful museums bursting with artifacts of our rich heritage and culture. This is not a dream; it is Casa Italia’s Sixth Annual Fall Festival!
Festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 6 and 7 at Casa Italia; which is located two blocks east of Mannheim, south of North Avenue and north of Lake Street in Stone Park. This weekend extravaganza crams into two days more music, fun, and culture than you may have experienced throughout the entire summer. There will be live musical entertainment featuring Johnny Maggio and Marco Margaritelli, as well as many other Italian-American artists. Authentic Italian Folk Dancing will also be showcased by the children who study our traditional dance, with Mario Fotino of Impact Dance Studio.
The focal point of the fest will be our salute to the grape! For you wine aficionados, you won’t want to miss our bountiful wine tasting garden and our homemade winemaking demonstrations. Featuring traditional techniques handed down from generation to generation; our winemaking sessions are truly a sight to be seen. Opportunity may even be presented to make and store your own wine this year at the Casa. Come and talk to our winemaking experts and discuss the possibilities. Meanwhile, for an additional fee, and if you are 21 or older; a wine tasting garden will be available, filled with numerous delicious wines from around the world, but with a special nod to Italy. These fabulous presentations of the grape will be available both for sampling and for purchase by the bottle or even the case. Salute!
And what is an Italian festival without food! Numerous vendors will be selling delicious Italian specialties, such as various pastas, arrancini and pasta fagiole; sausage, beef and meatball sandwiches; and much more. And when you’re ready for desert; spumoni, cannoli, and Italian Ice will be available for purchase.
On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., the Italian National Olympic Committee (Cav. Uff. Mico Delianova Licastro, U.S. representative) will host a free special sports and games event for children 6 to 18 featuring soccer, T-ball, running, basketball, and bocce, to name a few. Free T-shirts and hats will be given to children who participate in the games. Also present will be renowned Coach Anthony Isabelli, who will lead a soccer training seminar and games for children. These are always a favorite event at the fest.
Tours will be given of the exquisite Casa Italia museums and galleries. Come experience original artwork, memorabilia of our immigrant experience, antiques from various regions of Italy and an exact miniature of St. Peter’s in Rome, which has to be seen to be believed.
Add to this informative and mouth-watering cooking displays, as well as, ricotta and mozzarella making demonstrations and olive oil tasting, and you have an afternoon that will make you homesick for the land of our heritage. A farmers market will also be on the grounds, bringing you the fresh bounty of the rich local harvest; as well as caramel apples, cider and fresh bake goods.
On Sunday, October 7, Mass will be celebrated at Noon, in the Casa Chapel. And for those who cannot separate themselves from their usual Sunday afternoon pastime, the Bears vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars will be shown on a large movie-style projection TV in the pavilion’s meeting room. For those for whom culture is more your interest, an art show featuring Italian-American artists will be displayed as well.
All this and admission and parking are free! So, why not join us and stroll through our beautiful grounds, and experience the feel of Italy as you weave your way among our many booths and exhibits. What a perfect way to spend a spectacular fall weekend. We look forward to sharing the sights and sounds of Italy with you here at Casa Italia, 3800 Division Street, Stone Park, Illinois.
If you are interested in being involved as a vendor, crafter, sponsor or artist or for additional details, please call 708-345-5933 or visit www.fallfestival.pertutti.us.