Festa Italiana 2016 is back again this weekend, June 3 to June 5. The longtime local ethnic festival draws visitors from across metropolitan Kansas City and beyond, and this year it celebrates 10 years at Zona Rosa.
Festa Italiana Kansas City is a celebration for local Italians to share some of their culture and heritage with Kansas City while investing in our children so they continue the tradition.
Festa Italiana offers a weekend filled with entertainment, food and fun. Where else in Kansas City do you have a cannoli eating contest, a meatball eating contest, a wine festival, an Italian car show and live entertainment nonstop?
To put on Festa Italiana is not an easy feat. The Italian American service organization UNICO Kansas City Chapter organizes and produces the event with a staff of volunteers. The number of man-hours necessary to put on this festival is staggering. This dedication of the staff can be attributed to the desire by the committee members to promote Italian-American heritage and to raise money for UNICO’s charities. More than $390,000 has been raised and given back to local organizations in the past 6 years, and more than $290,000 has been given away in scholarships to local high school graduates in the past five years.
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The music and entertainment this year is organized and headed by Jerry Viviano. Jerry himself is a talented show manager and singer whose versatile talent complements whichever role he performs. His entertainment lineup is better than ever this year with headliner Lena Prima, daughter of Louis Primaon, along with the Bronx Wanderers, the EuroRhythyms and Joseph Vincelli. The local lineup of talent includes Tony Antonucci, Catherine Viviano, Frank Charito, Frank Vigliaturo, the Viviano Brothers, the Mathenia Family, Vince Scola, the Gumba’s, Katherine Viviano, Miller Marley Entertainers, Kate Consentino, Marie Milazzo, Platinum Express, and Merlo’s School of Dance.
This year the Italian motorsports show returns on the grounds for the hearts of enthusiast everywhere who love Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alpha Romero, Fiat, Ducati and Vespa. Last year, 75 cars, motorcycles and scooters were displayed, making it the largest all-Italian motorsports show in Kansas City.
The Festa Italiana is a great time for all plus novelty booths will line the streets including “Lots Of Italiana” shirts, hats and other memorabilia representing Italian heritage for the whole family. The festival will also feature a designated children’s area with a variety of activities.
Now let’s talk Italian food. Staples in the community such as Scimeca’s Italian sausage, Avelluto’s Italian Delight, Johnny C’s, Jersey Boys, Johnny Vivace’s, Cinzetti’s, DiCapo Foods and Tumea & Sons will be cooking with passion. Picture traditional Italian sandwiches, pasta, desserts such as gelato, zeppoles and more.
And to top the whole weekend off, Sunday Catholic mass will be celebrated with Father Vince Rogers and Father Dennis Wait.
Come this weekend to celebrate at Zona Rosa and kick off the summer with a festival of Italian food and fun!
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s runs his family’s 62-year-old restaurant with his brother. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells dressings and sauces.