Italian-themed celebration arrives June 14-15
Fairfield’s summer is packed with outdoor music, food and activities, and a community favorite, All Things Italian Street Festival is a week away.
Last year, Fairfield hosted the first-ever Italian zampogna festival in America, bringing zampognari musicians from Italy and the U.S. here at the invitation of Society of Fairfield Italian Americans, which sponsors All Things Italian.
“Last year we had rain, but we continued indoors and everyone had a great time,” said Dick DeAngelis, president of SOFIA. “Most of those musicians want to return.”
One of the zampogna (Italian bagpipe) players and a regular performer at Fairfield’s All Things Italian, Lionel Bottari of Chicago, wrote about Fairfield’s festival in an Italian American monthly magazine, FRA NOI and in The Iowa Source.
Bottari said he’s attended many Italian-themed festivals and none have the same feel of Italy, “like the one held deep in the cornfields of southern Iowa.”
He writes that Fairfield’s secret ingredient is perhaps the whole community working together to host a good party.
As a zampognari himself, Bottari points out Fairfield held “the first ever zampogna festival in America last year,” and many musicians are returning this year.
DeAngelis said the article in FRA NOI has increased interest in All Things Italian across the Midwest.
“We’re bringing authentic Italian music and many types of musicians,” he said. “We’ll have guitarists, saxophones, accordions, violins, mandolins and singers roaming around the square all evening providing music.”
DeAngelis said he enjoys the community feeling the festival provides.
“I hope everyone comes out for this, it’s a night of carefree enjoyment with music, dancing and food,” he said. “Everyone seems to love Italian food.”
DeAngelis said 1,000 lasagna dinners and 1,600 cannolis will be prepared.
“We get fresh ricotta cheese for lasagna at our local Radiance Dairy,” he said. “Then there’s ‘Team Cannoli.’
“Our own Mayor Ed Malloy, Italian on his mother’s side of the family, uses his family’s cannoli recipe and he has a team of people who make all the cannolis two nights before the festival,” said DeAngelis. “The filling is added during the festival, on the square.”
“All of these local connections add a sweetness to the whole festival.”
More than 200 people donate time and energy to host All Things Italian.
In addition to lasagna and cannolis, food booths will offer wood-fired pizzas, peppers and sausage sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, Italian cookies, real fruit Italian ice, authentic Italian desserts made by local Italian-Americans and gelato.
U.S. military and veterans, and Invincible America course participants can receive a discount at Saturday’s food booths.
“We want everyone in Fairfield to come out — we want everyone to feel invited. Everyone can come out and enjoy themselves, it’s a special time,” said DeAngelis.
Activities around the square will include soccer, “challenge the goalie,” face painting, kids’ chalk walk, kids crafts, bocce (lawn bowling), Hometown Rewards electricity-generating bicycle and photo booth, and new this year, the Kid’s Stage with special musical performances and a traditional Italian Pulcinella Puppet Show.
Soccer and face painting will cost $1 each. SOFIA will match all money raised and donate the soccer funds to Fairfield Soccer Association and face painting money to the Girl Scouts, said DeAngelis.
All other events are free.
“L’arte Della Figura Umana” Fairfield figure drawing session with poses from famous Italian paintings in graphite, charcoal, oil and pastel, with draped models, will be outside of Morning Star Studio.
Bill’s Room at ICON Gallery will have first-generation Italian American artist Attilio Sinagra’s Venetian Paintings. Venetian drawings and NYC 1940-1960 illustration era art will be available through silent auction.
The eighth annual All Things Italian Festival kicks off on a Friday night before the main day.
• A documentary film by David Marker, “Zampogna: The Soul of Southern Italy” will be shown at 7 p.m. June 14 at Café Paradiso, followed by discussion, and at 8 p.m. a concert “Zampognari e tutti” or all pipers.
Saturday, June 15
• 9 a.m. Italian street performers Bottari and his wife Jean Parisi along with zampognari will entertain at Fairfield Farmers’ Market in Howard Park.
• 11 a.m. “Greatest Hits of Italian Art: Art That Inspires the Heart, Mind and Soul,” at Fellowship of the Holy Spirit on the east side of the square, with Matthew Beaufort, professor of art history at Maharishi University of Management.
• Noon at ICON Gallery —Fairfield Madonnari Group. Led by Bill Teeple, local artists will meet to learn about Madonnari art, a style of drawing developed from religious street artists who used chalks and paints to create pavement portraits of the Madonna. The artists will begin to transform a section of Fairfield’s streets into sacred art.
Afternoon events at
Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
• 1 p.m. “The Evolution of Italian Opera,” with excerpts from Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini. Quiliano Anderson, a tenor who recently performed as Tito in “La Clemenza di Tito” by Mozart at Englert Theatre in Iowa City will be joined by Chris Diehl, tenor; Beth Diehl, piano; and Megan O’Brien, soprano for this presentation.
This group will sing in the evening at the gazebo.
Chris Diehl recently relocated from Burlington, now an optometrist at Jefferson County Health Center. He graduated from University of Iowa with degrees in vocal performance, biochemistry and studio art. He has been in several University of Iowa opera productions including “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Die Fledermaus,” “The Merry Widow,” “Cinderella” and “The Crucible.”
He played the leading male role of Rodolfo in the university’s production of “La Boheme” in 2007.
• 2 p.m. Discussion with performances of zampogna with Bottari, David Marker and Dominic Porco.
• 3 p.m. “Zampogna and Other Bagpipes Around the World,” with Sean Folsom.
• 4 p.m. “Paese Mio Bella” uncovering a unique collection of Italian-American recordings with Todd Cambio.
Festival begins at 5 p.m.,
main stage at gazebo
• 5 p.m. Welcome and call to zampognari by emcees Jamie Vollmer and John DeAngelis.
• 5-5:15 p.m. Zampognari march.
• 5:15-6 p.m. Quiliano Anderson, Doug Daller, Meghan Howard, Chris Diehl. Megan O’Brien and Beth Diehl, musical entertainment.
• 6-6:15 p.m. Rebecca Bachar with Duncan Dance Company and Nature’s Dance.
• 6:15-6:45 p.m. Zampognari.
• 7-7:40 p.m. Italian Dance Troupe, Il Trattenimento Italiano Troupe from Des Moines.
• 7:45-8:30 p.m. Quiliano Anderson, Doug Daller, Meghan Howard, Chris Diehl. Megan O’Brien and Beth Diehl, musical entertainment.
• 8:30-9:10 p.m. Finale.
• 9:15 p.m. Thank you/That’s Amore.
9:30-10:30 p.m. Zampognari jam.
In case of rain, the food, music and many activities and events will move inside to the following locations on all sides of the Fairfield square — Morning Star Studio, Cafe Paradiso, Central Park Home Furnishings and Futon Shop.
All Things Italian Street Festival was named a “must-see event” by the Iowa Tourism Office. It is sponsored by SOFIA, a nonprofit organization founded by local Italian Americans in 2005 to preserve and promote their Italian heritage and culture through charitable, educational and cultural activities in Fairfield and Southeast Iowa.
All Things Italian Street Festival is co-sponsored in part by the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau and the city of Fairfield.