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Food, music, games, and more: Your guide to all things Festa Italiana

Posted: 1:08 PM, Jul 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-16 14:17:26-04
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MILWAUKEE — Whether you're of Italian heritage or just a lover of Italian food, there are plenty of reasons to get out to Festa Italiana.

The coined, "Italian party" takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Henry W. Maier Festival Park.

Here's why you should go:

Italian Cuisine

"Mangiare" is the Italian word for "eat," but it's something you won't need to be told twice to do if you go to the festival.

Festa has added three new restaurants to the lineup this year.

Pizano's Pizza and Pasta serves up authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza by the slice, but if you're looking for something lighter they're also known for their famous chopped salad.

Angelo Caputo's Fresh Market incorporates fresh ingredients in their menu items like their stuffed zucchini flowers, Sicillian eggplant parmesan sandwich, bada bing shrimp, octopus salad and tomato bocconcini salad.

Milwaukee-based bakery, Milk Bottle Bakery, will also be making an appearance at Festa Italiana along with their Muffaletta, Italian Beef, Zeppole and chocolate & hazelnut parfait.

Other crowd favorites like Alioto's, Albanese's, Bartolotta's, Peter Sciortino Bakery and more will be returning as well.

Complete list of food and vendors here.

Live Music

Three-time Grammy Award winner KC and The Sunshine Band is headlining the festival on Saturday, so "dust off your disco shoes," as Festa Italiana says in a press release and, "shake until you drop."

Award-winning singer/songwriter Phil Vassar is coming back to perform on Sunday. Vassar has 20 years of chart-topping hits under his belt, including 10 number one singles and 26 Top 40 hits.

Other acts include:

  • Buffalo Gospel
  • FBI & the Untouchable Horns
  • The Flat Cats with Amanda Wolff & Myles Hayes
  • Fort Frances
  • Jayne Taylor
  • Keith Pulvermacher
  • Koch-Marshall Trio with Rick Vito
  • Liam Ford Band
  • Mic Over Matter
  • Noyz Boyz & Gyrlz
  • WheelHouse

For the full lineup, click here.

Unique Beverages

Two new exciting drinks are on tap for Festa Italiana 2019. The Aperol Spritz, the offical drink of the festival, and Peroni on tap, the official beer, are the newest additions to the drink lists across the festival grounds. Other options include varieties of Italian wines, beer on tap and more.

Games!

Find your Italian love connection at Festa this year! Festa Italiana is partnering with professional matchmakers from "It’s Just Lunch Milwaukee," to host its very own Italian love connection.

Join singles on the first day of the festival, Friday, to help bachelors and bachelorette’s find their perfect Italian match. The event starts in the Klement’s Big Backyard Stage at 8 p.m.

For singles interested in participating, fill out the dating profile on the Festa website here before end of day on Tuesday. Selected bachelor and bachelorettes will be notified on Wednesday. Interested singles can also register in person at Festa near the Big Backyard Stage from 6-7 p.m. 'It's Just Lunch' will also be giving away free three-month membership at Festa as well.

And if you're more interested in finding your big break than your true love, sign up for the Italian Idol talent show.

The talent show takes place each day and features special contests like "Dress Like Gaga" and a Club Idol Dance Party.

Tickets for Festa Italiana are on sale online for a discounted price of $10 through Thursday, but will also be available at the gate for $13.

Festa Italiana is one of the largest Italian events of its kind in America, as well as the first ethnic festival on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee. For more information, click here.