by Joanne Spata
Tired of the same old fall festivals? Well, how about transporting yourself back in time as Casa Italia celebrates its seventh annual Fall Festival in grand Italian Renaissance Carnevale style! Come and experience the sounds, sights and aromas of the Italy of olden times while immersing yourself in the beautifully landscaped gardens of Casa Italia and the fun of a 21st century carnival and haunted house.
Festivities will run from 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Casa Italia. This weekend extravaganza packs non-stop music, fun and culture into two days, all wrapped up in a beautiful Renaissance-themed package.
Adding to the wonderful festivities will be “fabulous family entertainment with fun shows for kids, music from The Rat Pack to Pavarotti, and Cirque-style Venetian performers,” states Ron Onesti, president of Onesti Entertainment. After his success with Addison’s Little Italy Fest-West, who knows what the renowned entertainment impresario has up his sleeve? One thing is known for certain: It will be phenomenal.
New to the fest this year, and continuing on weekends throughout the month of October, will be the famous Zombie Annihilation Haunted Attraction. This well-known Halloween thrill fest comes fresh to us from its previous location thanks to the legendary Doc Zarvin. An additional fee of $15 for adults and $5 for children will be required for this attraction.
There also will be tantalizing cooking and product demonstrations, featuring Mario Rizzotti of “Iron Chef” fame from Academia Barilla, as well as ricotta- and mozzarella-making demonstrations through the generosity of Dominic Gambino of Tony’s Finer Foods. A Farmers Market also will be on the grounds, bringing you the bounty of the rich local harvest, as well as caramel apples, cider and freshly baked goods.
You wine aficionados won’t want to miss our wine-tasting garden and homemade winemaking demonstrations. Featuring traditional techniques handed down from generation to generation, our winemaking sessions are truly a sight to be seen. For an additional fee, and if you are 21 or older, this wine-tasting garden will boast delicious wines from around the globe, 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’s an Italian festival without food! Come indulge in the tastes of Italy prepared by chefs from the land of our heritage. Numerous vendors will be selling delicious Italian specialties such as various pastas and arancini; sausage, beef and meatball sandwiches; a full roasted pig on a spit; and much more. And when you’re ready for dessert, spumoni, cannoli and Italian ice will be available, too.
On Sunday afternoon, CONI, the Italian National Olympic Committee (Cav. Uff. Mico Delianova Licastro, U.S. representative) will host a free sports and games event for children ages 6 to 18 featuring soccer, T-ball, running and bocce, to name a few. There also will be a Safety Firehouse, a Bouncy House and an Italian poetry contest for children.
Tours will be conducted 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 that has to be seen to be believed.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, come join us for a noon Mass celebrated at the base of the Holy Hill of Calvary. To continue with our weekend of sharing in the cultural riches of our forefathers, an art show featuring Italian-American artists will be displayed as well. Renaissance dancers also will be performing throughout the fest.
So why not stroll through our beautiful grounds and experience the feel of Renaissance Italy. Weave your way among our many booths and exhibits while experiencing the charm of strolling musicians and perhaps even a jouster or two on horseback. 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 St., Stone Park. There is a non-mandatory suggested donation of $5 for admission, with kids under 12 attending free.
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.