Italy always seems to conjure ideas of romance in people’s minds. That may help entice people to visit Festa Italiana at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights. The celebration of all things Italian … food, entertainment and heritage … will be put on by the Italian American Cultural Society (IACS) July 17-19.
Lena Prima, the daughter of musical legend Louis Prima, will perform all three nights of the festival. She will use this opportunity to pay tribute to both her father and Michigan native Sicilian Tenor Aaron Caruso. Along with the headliner, other entertainment acts will include Mark Randisi, The Simone Vitale Band, Ray Massa’s Italian Band, Dino Valle, Bellini Opera, and many more.
Of course, in all honesty, what most people think of when they hear Italian is food and wine, and the festival recognizes that. Restaurants and bakeries from across the area will offer Italian themed food such as freshly baked pizza, pasta, grilled sausage and shrimp, steak sandwiches, Italian ice, fresh fruit, and plenty of pastries for purchase. There’s also wine and beer imported from The Boot itself.
“The IACS is proud to present and produce Festa Italiana and celebrate the Italian culture with the community,” said Joe Ventimiglia, festival chairman. “We are grateful to our many generous sponsors who make Festa Italiana possible and we encourage everyone to come and enjoy all the great sights, sounds, food and fun we have in store this year.”
Along with all of that there will also be:
- A meatball contest where amateurs and restaurants will put their meatballs to the test in the 12th annual competition judged by Macomb County judges
- Beautiful Bay Contest – cutest kid in categories ranging from 6 months to 5 years old
- Cannoli Eating Contest – Cannoli competitors will see who can eat the most in 6 minutes and try to beat the current record of 12 cannoli
- Craft exhibit with more than 30 local crafters
- Bocce Ball tournament
- Holy mass on Sunday, July 19 at 11:30 am
- A Family Fun Zone with activities for the whole family
- A chance to win a Fiat 500 Lease from Fiat of Lakeside
Attendance is free. Parking costs $10 or you can buy a three-day pass for $25 that lets you come and go as you please. The pass can be purchased at the IACS offices. On Friday, July 17, the festival is open 5:00-11:00 pm. On Saturday, July 18 it’s open from noon-11:00 pm and Sunday, July 19 from 11:00 am-11:00 pm.
Freedom Hill is located at 14900 Metropolitan Parkway in Sterling Heights. For a complete schedule of entertainment and activities, visit www.iacsonline.com or call (586) 228-3030.