THUNDER BAY -- Whenever Marissa Ferriolo is in town for the August long weekend she makes sure she attends Festa Italiana.
For her it’s like one big family reunion.
“The Italian culture is all about celebrating family and being around food so it’s like home,” she said Sunday.
Organizers of Festa Italiana, which is run by the Italian Society of Port Arthur, estimate at least 20,000 people will visit the two-day bash in front of the society’s Algoma Street property.
Festa, which is now in its 24th year, attracts more than just the Italian demographic, said chairman Tony Tarsitano.
“It has now been embraced by the community as a Thunder Bay event,” Tarsitano said.
Those in attendance at Sunday’s opening day were treated to weather that seemed to improve for the start of the event, as the sun came out for warm temperatures.
While there are a variety of activities, Festa does have one signature hallmark that makes it a must attend event for many.
“I love Italian food,” Ferriolo said. “It’s one of my favourite cuisines and I enjoy sampling the different booths.”
Many different local Italian non-profit groups have set up shop, offering tastes of homemade Italian cuisine.
Everybody can find something to satisfy their hunger.
“There is a variety of food and they are here to serve every pallet possible,” Tarsitano said.
While people eat there is also live entertainment on the stage at the north end of the grounds.
Some of those acts include the Le Stelle Alpine Dancers, the Alpini Choir as well as the visiting Strada Mix Band from Toronto.
There is also a draw being held in support of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation’s Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign, with the grand prize being a trip for two to Italy.
There will be a fireworks show both nights of the event at 11 p.m. and the grand prize draw will be held Monday evening.
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