Fairfield opens wide for All Things Italian
Fairfield’s All Things Italian Street Festival brings fresh Italian food, music, art and entertainment Saturday centered on the square and Central Park, which transform into an Italian “piazza” from 5-10 p.m.
The ninth annual All Things Italian Street Festival also will feature dancing and activities to participate in, highlighted by street performances from musicians, jugglers, acrobats and actors from all over the country.
Approximately 5,000 people from throughout Iowa descend on Fairfield for this festival according to organizers and sponsors — the Society of Fairfield Italian Americans.
To top off the festivities, more than 1,500 freshly filled cannoli and other Italian desserts will be served, along with more than 1,000 homemade lasagna dinners throughout the evening.
“We get fresh, organic ricotta cheese for lasagna at our local Radiance Dairy,” said Dick DeAngelis, president of SOFIA.
“Team Cannoli,” headed by Mayor Ed Malloy, Italian on his mother’s side of the family, uses his family’s cannoli recipe with a team of people who make all the cannolis two nights before the festival.
“The filling is added during the festival, on the square, keeping it fresh,” said DeAngelis.
More than 200 people donate time and energy to host All Things Italian.
“All of these local connections add a sweetness to the whole festival,” DeAngelis said.
Other food available Saturday on the square include Italian cookies made from family recipes; turkey meatball sandwiches; Everybody’s Whole Foods organic fruit stand; Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store sausage and peppers sandwiches; wood-fired artisan pizza; Isabella’s Italian Ice of Philadelphia made with real sugar; and an outdoor Italian Café outside Café Paradiso.
Green Building Supply at Second Street and Burlington Avenue is hosting a free tasting of traditional Italian food as well as a live cooking demonstration, from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, with Tammy Bello, who is Italian, and known by many as a FedEx executive.
At Home Store on the west side of the square will have homemade seasonal ravioli and a wine pairing cooking demonstration and tasting by Nick Trombetta, an Italian America chef and expert in northern Italian cuisine at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Entertainment this year will include opera singers; strolling musicians; body models and sketch artists in front of Morning Star Studio; traditional marble carving demonstrated in the southeast corner of the square; an Italian puppet show; Commedia dell’arte, a form of theatre characterized by masked “types” which began in Italy in the 16th century and was responsible for the advent of the actresses and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios; traditional Italian music with zampognari — or the Italian bagpipe; acrobats, jugglers and classical musicians.
Zampognari have once again come from throughout the U.S. to perform and present traditional Italian music to Fairfield festival-goers, said DeAngelis.
“Special thanks to David Marker, Sean Folsom, Domenico Porco, Lionel Bottari and traditional Italian dance experts Celest DiPietropaolo and Marie DiCocco,” he said.
The traditional marble carving demonstration is by Alexandra Pelizzari, also known as Sandy Stimson, who studied marble carving in Carrara, Italy, and demonstrates the same traditional methods that were used by Michelangelo.
Madonnari artists on the streets return, using colorful chalk to create artistic scenes or portraits outside Icon Gallery on the west side of the square. This year’s street artists include Fairfield’s Bill Teeple, master artist Lyn Durham, and John Preston, one of the Midwest’s major landscape artists, as well as many Fairfield artists.
Madonnari is a style of drawing developed from religious street artists who used chalks and paints to create pavement portraits of the Madonna.
Bocce, Italian lawn bowling, will be available to play. Italian automobiles and motorcycles will be on display.
The children’s corner will include activities such as face painting, stage performances throughout the festival, pop-up puppet making workshop beginning promptly at 5 p.m., kids’ chalk art, a roving portrait photographer and a soccer goal contest.
The hour-long puppet making workshop will be led by Jean Parisi in the southwest quadrant of square. Children can make and take home simple puppets based on Italian hand-made pop-up Pulcinella puppets seen at street festivals throughout Italy.
Festival favorite Luther Bangert returns to juggle.
The festival events at the main stage — the Ron Prill Bandstand in Central Park open with the zampogna procession into the park at 5 p.m., followed by the emcee’s welcome and introduction; then:
• Opera with Chaz’men Williams, and Ali and Shari Rhoads, from 5:20-5:40 p.m.
• Zampognari with David Marker, Domenico Porco and Sean Folsom from 5:40-6 p.m. and 8-8:20 p.m.
• A surprise performance at 6 p.m. and another from 8:20-8:30 p.m.
• Juggler Luther Bangert from 6:10-6:30 p.m. and 8:40-9:10 p.m.
• Commedia dell-arte with Lucia Rich and Claire Patton from 6:30-6:50 p.m.
• Gruppo Il Trattenimento, Italian folk dancers, from Des Moines, 7-7:30 p.m.
• Opera with Iowa’s three tenors, from 7:30-8 p.m.
• Finale “That’s Amore,” from 9:10-9:30 p.m.
A live outdoor concert with Italian music and dancing begins after the festival at 9:30 p.m.
Before the evening at the “piazza,” Italian-themed events also will be held during the day, including:
• Italian street performers Lionel Bottari and Jean Parisi will play music and perform designed commedia and puppet shows at Fairfields’ Farmer’s Market at 9 a.m. in Howard Park.
• Matthew Beaufort, associate humanities professor at Maharishi University of Management, will talk about Michelangelo’s quest for ideal forms that embodied the divine in “Michelangelo: The Quest for Perfection,” at 11 a.m. at Fairfield Public Library.
• Commedia dell’arte lecture and demonstration by Lucia Rich, formerly of Fairfield, and Claire Patton, at 1 p.m. at Fellowship of the Holy Spirit on the east side of the square.
• “Tales of Giufa,” presented by Jean Parisi and Lionel Bottari; Sicilian stories told in comic drama style in the “cantastorie” tradition. The performance involves cartoons, songs, costumes, masks and puppets at 2 p.m. Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
A children’s version takes place at the Kids Stage at 6 p.m. in Central Park.
• Stephen Harper’s “The Life of St. Francis,” a multimedia presentation of sacred places St. Francis went in Assisi and Tuscany, Italy; 2 p.m. at ICON Gallery.
• “Picture Italy: Prints and Photos by 2 Friends,” by Denise Gallagher and Wendy Osterweil from 2-8 p.m. at Gallery 56, south side of the square.
• “Verdi and His Legacy,” a presentation of Italian opera by Sheri Rhoads, Chaz’men Williams-Ali and singers from ConcertIA. This will be an hour of Verdi and Donizetti arias and ensembles at 3 p.m. at Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
• Discovering traditional Italian instruments with David Marker and Sean Folsom discussing the origins of the Italian bagpipes, at 4 p.m. at Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Promotors said the musical instrument demonstration is a crowd favorite and this year will include a collection of ancient instruments of the Romans and Greeks, along with Folsom’s seven zampognes.
• Christopher Kufner’s original oil paintings and photographs of Italy’s Tuscan region, all day at Americus Diamond.
• Four paintings of Italy — Rome, Venice, Pompeii and the Italian Alps by Rosemary Lucente on display at Health and Wholeness.
In case of rain, the festival will be held inside the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.