This year Festa attendees can look forward to many new attractions, exciting entertainment, delicious food and fun events for la Famiglia and individuals of all ages to enjoy!
A Variety of World-Class Music Acts
Audiences can experience a wide range of music acts and performers at Festa Italiana this year. Headliners at the Marcus Amphitheater stage include Buddy Valastro: TLC's Cake Boss presented by Boelter SuperStore on Saturday, July 23 at 3:00 p.m., The Monkees 45th Anniversary Tour on Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on Sunday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. The Monkees and Frankie Valli concerts are presented by the "Oldies 95.7 Super-Sized Summer Bash."
On the ground stages, festival-goers can enjoy new entertainment acts such as Steve Augeri - former lead singer of Journey, Fran Cosmo - former lead singer of Boston, Abba Arrival from Sweden, Bella Donna - A Tribute to Stevie Nicks and Milwaukee's own Anthony Crivello, currently staring as "The Phantom" in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in Las Vegas.
Returning this year are Festa favorites including Dick Contino, The Bronx Wanders, Tony Spavone, Frank Tenaglia, Christopher Macchio, Franco Corso, John Ciotta and the Russo Brothers. Other bands to enjoy this year include Doo Wop Daddies, Greg Koch Trio and The Barbeez.
Traveling to Festa Italiana all the way from Italy is the Il Coro Polifonica Flegreo choir from Naples and Gruppo Bandistico G. Verdi from the Sicily region. The choir and band will be making their presence known all four days of the festival.
Returning for its sixth year is the annual Italian Idol Karaoke Contest! This exciting and popular event has become a favorite for nighttime visitors and singers. Contestants will compete Thursday - Saturday at 8:00 p.m. just east of the main entrance to the festival grounds. Check-in time each evening begins at 6:00 p.m. Three finalists and an alternate will be chosen from each night to compete in the finals on Sunday July 24. Nine finalists will sing a portion of an Italian song along with their own song selection to win cash prizes! Are you the next Italian Idol?
A Taste for Italian
Highlighting the tradition Italy is famous for - food, Festa Italiana will offer many mouthwatering favorites including pizza, Italian sausage, calzones, chicken spiedini, eggplant lasagna, pasta, paninis and sfinciuni. And we can't forget about dessert! Lemon Genovese, fresh gelato, fruit and cinnamon roasted almonds are sure to please taste buds. New food items to watch for are beef and eggplant spiedini, the sausage patty slider and broccioloni.
Every day of Festa Southeastern Wisconsin's best chefs will demonstrate how to cook their favorite Italian recipes - and provide free samples in the Piggly Wiggly Cucina Showcase, presented by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Local chefs participating in this year's cucina are from many of the area's finest restaurants including the Iron Horse Hotel, Ryan Braun's Graffito, Ristorante Bartolotta, Le Reve Patisserie & Café, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bravo Cucina Italiana, Mia Famiglia Italian Ristorante & Steak House, Maggiano's Little Italy, The Pasta Tree, The Riversite and Zin Uncommon California Italian.
Nick Stellino, the highly acclaimed Italian-American chef and author, will appear in the Cucina Showcase for two shows on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24 at 5:30 p.m., sponsored by C&H Sugar and Electrolux. Originally from Sicily, Stellino has apprenticed with the best Italian chefs in America, and hosts his own TV show, Nick Stellino's Family Kitchen on PBS.
For the first time ever, celebrity chef and award-winning Italian cookbook author Maria Liberati will be cooking-up a storm all four days of Festa this year! Liberati is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture in the U.S. and has been described as the "Italian Martha Stewart" by Celebrity Society Magazine. Liberati will be showcasing her culinary skills in the Cucina Showcase on Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m., on Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 24 at 4:00 p.m.
New food vendors include La Scala Café, Papa Luigis, Carini's LaConca d'Oro and Alioto's - all excellent additions to an already great line-up of food vendors.
We all like to enjoy vino and spirits! New this year at Festa is Guidos Italian Cocktail Lounge, a full-service cocktail bar located at the Briggs Big Back Yard stage at the south end of the festival grounds. The new cocktail bar will offer fresh drinks with a twist for all to enjoy. Back again this year is also the popular Roman Terrace, which made its debut at Festa in 2010. Located on the upper level of the Harley Davidson stage - it's the place to be. Meet the Roman soldiers and order your favorite drink from the many lovely Roman maids waiting to serve you!
First Ever Festa Fashion Show
For the first time on any festival stage, Festa Italiana is putting on a fashion show for all the fashionistas out there each evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Potawatomi Stage. The show will highlight the latest styles from B'Lou Boutique and Squire - Fine Men's Apparel. Local celebrities including several players from the Milwaukee Wave soccer team and their wives will be hitting the runway showing off clothing from Italian designers. The fashion show will be an exciting new event that will also include performances from the Italian band and dancers each evening for all to enjoy!
Affordable, Family Fun!
Festa is known for its family-friendly attractions and activities. There are numerous, affordable activities planned for this year's festival that are sure to please the entire family:
Children ages 12 and under will be admitted for free during the entire four-day festival
All amusement rides will be free for kids and adults, all day and night! Sponsored by PyraMax Bank.
The Pinocchio Parade will wind its way through the grounds each evening at 5:30 p.m. celebrating la nostra comunita (our community), la famiglia (the family), la cultura d `Italia (the culture of Italy) and this year, the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy! Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian revolutionary hero who led the struggle for Italian unification will lead the parade, followed by the Garibaldi Redshirts. The parade will also feature a 10-foot Pinocchio puppet, Italian dancers, singers, a Sicilian donkey cart, a children's circus wagon, musicians from Italy and much more!
Piazza di LEGO. New this year, there will be the Piazza di LEGO (LEGO Square). Children of all ages are welcome to participate in a daily LEGO contest for the chance to win a daily prize. Students with the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the American Institute of Architects - Milwaukee will be working with the kids to help them construct an Italian icon out of LEGOs. A special play area will also be available for families and children who chose not to participate in the contest and wish just to play with the LEGOs and enjoy Piazza di LEGO!
Children's Stage. Daily entertainment will be provided at the Children's Stage for kids of all ages to enjoy.
Children and families can enjoy the best fireworks on the Lakefront every night of Festa at 10:15 p.m.! New this year is Abbondanza in the Sky on Friday, July 22 celebrating the Bartolotta fireworks.
Celebrating Italian Culture
The traditional Festa Italiana Sunday Mass and Procession will be led by Archbishop Jerome Listecki at 11:00 a.m. at the Marcus Ampitheater. Admission is free until 11:15 a.m. at the South Entrance only for those who attend the Sunday Mass.
For those who love Italian history, the very popular Mosaic Altar Panel from St. Peter's Basilica Rome and the St. Marco Venetian Tower Display will be available for viewing. The Historic Italian Third Ward & Pompeii Vintage Photos and Artifacts will also be on display for those who enjoy looking at old photographs featuring Milwaukee's early Italian community.
And of course Bocce Ball is back with the highly anticipated Bocce Ball tournament taking place on Sunday, July 24. This year Bocce Ball will be located at the south end of the festival grounds.
Wheels and Heels Rush on Festa
For runners and walkers - the annual Wheels & Heels Rush on Festa benefiting the National
Spinal Cord Association is back! The 5K run, one mile walk, run begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 21. Pre-registration costs are $17 for individuals and $50 for families until July 12. After July 12, costs are $20 for individuals and $60 for families. The awards ceremony will be held inside the North Gate at 8:00 p.m. All participants will receive free admission into Festa.
Festa Italiana offers plenty of ways to visit the festival for free! Purchase your tickets today at www.festaitaliana.com or through the Italian Community Center at 631 E. Chicago Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202 at 414-223-2808.
Admission tickets are $13.00 at the gate and children ages 12 and under are admitted free for all four days when accompanied by an adult.
Festa Italiana is offering free admission for active duty military members and one guest all four days with an eligible military ID.
Get a free Festa Italiana admission voucher or ticket at participating supermarkets and liquor stores (visit www.festaitaliana.com for all locations) when you purchase either one (1) 12-pack or two (2) 6-packs of Peroni beer. Offer valid 6/21 - 7/24. Ticket or voucher redeemable at the Mid-Gate.
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. is VIP Day. People with disabilities along with their caregivers receive free admission, half-price on all food items and soda, while the grounds are closed to the general public. Sponsored by Milwaukee Public Schools, Goodwill and Summerfest.
2:00 p.m. to close is U.S. Cellular Day. Present your U.S. Cellular phone at the Mid-Gate for free admission.
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Bring your Piggly Wiggly Preferred Club Card to the Mid-Gate for half price admission.
11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Free admission for everyone! Compliments of the Italian Conference Center and Café La Scala.
2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Bring your Piggly Wiggly Preferred Club Card to the Mid-Gate for half price admission.
Free admission all day to Festa when you present your ticket for the Cake Boss or The Monkees concert at the Marcus Amphitheater!
All day - Bring your Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Press Perk to the Mid-Gate for half price admission.
10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. free admission to Festa when you attend High Mass in the Marcus Amphitheater. South Entrance Only.
Free admission all day to Festa when you present your ticket for the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons concert at the Marcus Amphitheater.
Tutto Italiana Raffle
Enter the Festa Italiana raffle for the chance to win a variety of prizes! Prices for raffle tickets are $10 for one and $20 for three tickets. Prizes incldue:
First Prize: A brilliant red 2012 FIAT 500 from Bergstrom FIAT of Milwaukee
Second Prize: A trip for two to Rome and Venice, Italy. Includes airfare, hotels, a gondola ride and much, much more
Third Prize: A Vespa Scooter from Reina International Auto of Vespa Milwaukee
Fourth Prize: A 14 carat yellow gold diamond tennis bracelet with 61 diamonds equaling 2.06 total carat weight from Glorioso's Gold Imports and Diamond Center
Festa Italiana is presented by U.S. Cellular and sponsored in part by Oldies 95.7, Boelter SuperStore, MillerCoors Brewing, Piggly Wiggly, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Red Gold and Pyramax Bank.
For more information on the festival, please visit www.FestaItaliana.com or call 414-223-2808.