Tag Archives: Westport Italian Festival

Festival Italiano In Photos

Before Festival Italiano sinks into the same memory hole as the Remarkable Book Shop, here’s a look back.  I took these photos last year.

 

 

 

 

 

I took these in 2009:
Play Gumball -- win a prize. Is this a great country or what? 

Festival director Roberta Troy and grand marshal Buck Iannacone exchange glances during the parade. 

A future NRA member tries his hand at a fun gun game. 

More guns!  This parade vehicle proudly flies the American and Italian flags. 

I'm not sure what these are, but they were for sale at the Italian Fest.
Got your own photos — or memories?  Send ’em along, via the “Comments” or “Email me” links.

Breaking News — No Italian Fest In 2011

The home page of Festival Italiano provides this distressing news:

It is with deep sadness that I must announce to you that there will be no Westport Festival Italiano in 2011.  We did have a very successful Festival in 2010.  Unfortunately, virtually all the income was paid out in expenses.

Our reason for existence is to provide scholarships and support for local charities and there is little left for that.  Although it would be fine if we could keep the Festival going just for the entertainment it provides for Westport and the surrounding communities that is just no longer possible.

Volunteering is virtually non-existent and sponsorships are dwindling so more and more of the set up has to be contracted and paid for.  No one from Westport Festival Italiano, Inc. receives any payments from the Festival, so there is no way we can cut back expenses without destroying the character of the Festival, and that we will not do.

Several avenues have been investigated to keep the Festival going within those guidelines, but they have not succeeded.  With the economy sluggish and the constant threat of a rain washout we have no choice but to terminate Festival Italiano

Festival Italiano has had 27 good years. The weather has mostly cooperated.  Our Patrons have been great, as have the vendors and entertainment.  We have provided over two and a half million dollars to charitable causes and many, many hours of enjoyment to the people of the Westport area.  We are proud of our accomplishments.

Best Wishes from all of us at Westport Festival Italiano, Inc.

Arrividerci, Festival Italiano.  Grazie mille.

(Posted 8:50 a.m.)

Fun At The Fest

Sure, the Italian Festival is about paisans of all ages eating, enjoying rides, trying to win basically unwinnable games, eating, listening to vaguely familiar music, seeing fellow Westporters while wondering where everyone else came from, and then having food.

But some folks have to work — and we’re not talking about the hard-working Sons of Italy volunteers (and others) who make it happen every year.  Who ever thinks about — or really sees — the carnies?

Early on the 1st day, this woman waited for customers. The stuffed animal waited to be won.

Elvis came to Luciano Park. Long live The King.

This woman was selling Italy hats, t-shirts and trinkets. I asked if she was Italian. She said no. Then again, at the Italian Fest, everyone is.

Damn! I forgot to ask the psychics who's going to win on Sunday: Spain or the Netherlands?

This guy (left) had one of the toughest jobs around: standing knee-deep in water, playing with heavy kid-filled ballons, unloading them, then blowing them up for the next customer.

This dude was working hard too. Although the Surgeon General does not approve of the message.

Italians Take Over Saugatuck

The Italian Festival opens tonight.

The annual celebration of Saugatuck’s heritage, 1950s music and fried dough kicks off with a 7:30 p.m. parade.  All weekend long there are rides, carnival games, performances, and a Coney Island-meets-Westport atmosphere unavailable any other time, at any other place.

Festival Italiano is sponsored by the Sons of Italy.  The non-profit organization — so unassuming it doesn’t even have a website — donates all profits to local charities.  That’s no patate piccole — since the first fest in 1984 they’ve given away nearly $2 million, to over 40 charities.

But the organization uses a public facility — part of the railroad parking lot — to hold its philanthropic show.

So, to avoid a dust-up similar to the one that emerged on “06880” regarding the PAL 4th of July fireworks, I won’t mention any of that.

Scenes From An Italian Festival

Couldn’t get to tonight’s opening of the Festival Italiano?  Here’s what you missed.

Play Gumball -- win a prize. Is this a great country or what?

Play Gumball -- win a prize. Is this a great country or what?

Festival director Roberta Troy and grand marshal Buck Iannacone exchange glances during the parade.

Festival director Roberta Troy and grand marshal Buck Iannacone exchange glances during the parade.

A future NRA member tries his hand at a fun gun game.

A future NRA member tries his hand at a fun gun game.

More guns!  This parade vehicle proudly flies the American and Italian flags.

More guns! This parade vehicle proudly flies the American and Italian flags.

I'm not sure what these are, but they were for sale at the Italian Fest.

I'm not sure what these are, but they were for sale at the Italian Fest.

Dieters, beware: Festival Italiano is not for you!

Dieters, beware: Festival Italiano is not for you!