Columbia’s 4th Annual Italian Festival & Bocce Tournament set for October 22 | Arts & Culture
The Sons of Italy Bella Italia Lodge 2808 brings the Italian Festival and Bocce Tournament to downtown Columbia for the 4th straight year on Saturday, October 22, 2011.
The festival will be held at Downtown-Main St. from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. and is open to the public with free admission and the use of city parking garages is available.
The festival’s attendance has tripled since the first festival in 2008 and festival planners expect more than 20,000 visitors this year. This one-day passport to Italy event has become a major attraction for the capital city. Festival provides a lot of free entertainment and performances. On site tickets sales are for the purchase of foods, beverages, Italian merchandise and other vendor items. Festival Chair Nick D. Pizzuti and the planning committee continue to meet to consider and confirm other events and activities for the festival. To date, confirmed festival features and activities include --
• Traditionally featured each year is the Bocce Tournament, an easy to learn sport in which players use their pitching skills to throw wood bocce balls across the ground to distances closest to a marking point, while also knocking their opponent’s ball out of place. This event is attracting local businesses and individuals to compete against each other and is great fun for those with competitive spirits. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners. The tournament is open to the first 32 two-person teams. Teams may reserve their spot and pay fee in advance of the festival date by calling 803.600.3720.
• Major festival attraction -- Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms band, heralded as the best Italian American band in the USA. Based in Cincinnati, this all-male band has played several times in Italy.
• Italian heritage and culture booth with information about Columbia’s Bella Italia Lodge 2808 and the Sons of Italy;
• Italian Fresh Market stocked with imported foods, pasta, tomato sauces, olive oil plus Italian label sodas and sparkling waters, homemade dolci (sweets), other foods and Italian merchandise;
• Grape stomping;
• Gondola with gondolier (have your picture taken)
• Games for children and old world games for adults and youth;
• The Tarantella – demos of this Italian folk dance by lodge members and participation for kid and adult visitors;
• Story of Pinocchio;
• Classic Italian auto exhibit;
• Authentic Italian cuisine -- featuring Bella Italia 2808’s Café and its signature pepperoni rolls, pizza, Italian sausage w/ peppers & onion subs, and meatball subs; other food vendors will serve a variety of Italian foods and desserts;
• Italian beverages - cappuccino, espresso and a variety of specialty coffees, plus Italian label wine and beer; and
• Evening Street Dance featuring Columbia’s Sensational Epics.
Nick D. Pizzuti, Festival Chair Tel 803.600.3720
Festival specifics and general info, lodge liaison for City officials, planning and logistics, corporate sponsor inquiries, exhibits, displays, merchandise and business promo vendors, logistics, etc.
Carmella Roche, Festival Co-Chair Tel 803. 237-1536
Inquiries – Interested “food-related” vendors