Entertainment & Events

15th Annual Little Italy Festa expecting 120,000

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Little Italy is a bustling new metropolitan location full of culture and trend, with an up and coming young crowd that is flooding the Italian bred restaurant and bar scene. This area has been around for years, but has been transformed through a new style of  “mix-use” buildings, chic apartments and office buildings. The small chunk of Italia isn’t complaining though, it has been 15 years since the induction of their Annual Little Italy Festa, and they are expecting a guest list of 120,000 this weekend in what has been deemed by the media as the “largest single day Italian American festival West of the Mississippi.”

Little Italy in Downtown San Diego (Photo by calmovie via Flickr)

Little Italy in Downtown San Diego (Photo by calmovie via Flickr)

The 15th Annual Little Italy Festa will be held this Sunday October 11th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the corner of India and Date. This fabulously culture rich event is just another example of some of the awesomely FREE events that San Diego has to offer. Bring your family and friends, because there will be something for all ages this weekend.

You can almost smell the Italian sausages roasting, and the yelling of the fans watching the stick-ball game. Vendors will line the pavement of India Street with various Italian foods, arts, merchandise, and cultural information. Of course it would not be a “Festa!” without music, and with three stages throughout the event, you will have Italy personally serenading you wherever you go.

The music will be provided by local Italian artists ranging from solo acoustic acts, to group theatrical performances. NovaMeno are brothers with a Flamenco and Mediterranean vibe, utilizing their guitars to create diverse and traditional sounds.

Roman Holiday, the folkloristic dance troupe, is comprised of dancers and singers and will get everyone on their feet dancing with their audience participation based versions of Italian favorites. They were voted San Diego Magazine’s “Best Ethnic Band” for 2009. They will be performing on the Date stage at 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., so make sure you make time for this fun filled performance.

Another award heralded performer, David Patrone, will be taking the stage on Sunday. David won the San Diego Music Awards “Best Jazz Artist” for 2009. Along with being an amazing Jazz vocalist, the Philly born bicentennial man is a comedian and an MC.

Other artists gracing the festa with their presence are Italian born Daniele Spadavecchia, classic Gibert Gauthier, the Vegas style 8-piece showband The Screamin’ Primas and the San Diego local sextet Z-Bop! With such an extensive lineup of entertainment, it is hard to believe that that this festival will also include a Stickball game, Beer and Wine gardens, and a world renowned chalk-art event.

There are over ten Stickball teams throughout San Diego, but on Sunday, they will be hosting a series of games for the top 4. The game, resembling baseball, is playing “Bronx style” where the batter pitches to them self by throwing a rubber ball into the air and hitting it with their bat. The “field” won’t be tough to find, just follow the screaming and cheering fans.

It wouldn’t be an Italian celebration without some vino! Beer and Wine gardens will be located on the streets with a variety of beverage choices for those of-age. The gardens will be sponsored by Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, Cosentino Winery, and Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

If you keep walking, you will be sure to come across the Gesso Italiano chalk event. This worldly known chalk event used to be separate from the festa, but because of so much influx to the festa, they joined forces to create a larger audience of support. The chalk event will be all day on India Street, with artists from all over coming to create 5’x 5’ chalk art that represents something of Italian culture. At the end of the day, judges will award cash prices in different categories. Registration has already passed for this event, but come, watch and enjoy as these creative minds work their magic on the streets.

Last but not least, and you knew this was coming, there will be a raffle! And they aren’t just giving away money, or gift certificates… they are raffling off a special edition 2009 Buddy 123 Motorscooter! This Little Italy Special Edition vehicle is adorned with Italian colors from top to bottom and has a market value of $3,500. Tickets will be sold up until 5:45 p.m., and winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

One of the decorated fences in Little Italy (Photo by MrLunch via Flickr)

One of the decorated fences in Little Italy (Photo by MrLunch via Flickr)

The Little Italy Assocatiation Board of Directors and Staff organized this festival and many others in Little Italy throughout the year including; Artwalk, the State of the Neighborhood Dinner, Carnevale, and the Holdiday Tree Lighting. We are so lucky to have people like this in San Diego who put together these terrific (and not to mention FREE) events throughout San Diego, so make sure you get out there on Sunday and take advantage of it!

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