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Festa Italiana Returns to the UST Campus Oct. 15-17

Houstonians can take a three-day vacation to Italy without stepping foot on an airplane. The sights, sounds and mouth-watering aromas of Italy will once again beckon thousands to the picturesque, centrally-located University of St. Thomas campus. The 32nd Annual Festa Italiana will be held for three days from Friday to Sunday, October 15 to 17.

What began as a small, humble Italian festival has now become one of the largest ethnic festivals in Houston. Last year, Festa Italiana collaborated with the University of St. Thomas to bring Italian culture to the center of the city.

“Festa Italiana is a fun event for all ages, highlighting much of what Italy has to offer,” said Jerry Baiamonte, President of the Italian Cultural & Community Center “With the excellent food, fine wines, exceptional music and many other planned activities, this is a festival that promises a delightful afternoon or evening encounter with all things Italian.”

This year, the festival has added new features including:

  • The Taste of Italy Pavilion will feature food demonstrations and wine tastings;
  • The Italian folk dancers, the Tarantella Dancers, will not only perform on Saturday and Sunday, but will offer folk dancing instructions for the youngsters;
  • The charismatic handsome Italian singer, Aaron Caruso, will be back on the Main Entertainment Stage as the featured attraction on Friday and Saturday evenings and again on Sunday afternoon backed with a live band;
  • More fun activities have been planned for the youngsters including their favorite, the Marionette Puppets who will be on the Children’s Stage both Saturday and Sunday.

Special events include:

  • The bocce tournament
  • Grape stomp for both adults and children
  • The annual pasta-eating contest,
  • Madonnari Sidewalk Chalk Art competition by high school students on Saturday , and on Sunday afternoon,
  • Radio Station KRBE 104.1 FM will sponsor the 3rd annual Italian-American Idol competition.

In addition to all the events, guests can browse through more than 30 booths, filled with fine exhibitors featuring everything from jewelry to modern art pieces. The grounds will be lined with booths of authentic homemade Italian foods…many made from recipes handed down from generation to generation and made by members of the sponsoring organization, the Italian Cultural & Community Center. This year, the Festa Italiana will introduce Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water from the rolling hills of the palatial estate of the Medici family,

Foods will include Rigatoni al Forno (baked rigatoni), handmade meatball sandwiches, fresh Italian sausage with grilled onions and peppers or on a stick, stuffed artichoke hearts, Italian green beans, and hand tossed pizza. For the sweet-tooth, favorites are favorites will be sfingi (Italian donuts), cucciadate (fig cookies), cannoli, gelato (Italian ice cream) and biscotti which guests will be able to enjoy with a cup of fresh brewed espresso.

Festa Italiana will feature free admission lunch time on Friday. The gates will open at 11 a.m. for lunch and the admission fee will not be charged until 4 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and children 12 years of age and under are admitted free. Hours for the event are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday is

For further information, please call the Italian Cultural & Community Center, 713-524-4222 or check out all the information including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities on the website,