Festa Italiana a big hit in the Copper Country

A great crowd showed up for the first ever Festa Italiana this past weekend at the Houghton County Arena.

The event featured many different exhibits that showcase the rich Italian culture that is prevalent in the U.P.  Chairperson Deborah Mann says the festival was created through the interest of local Italians.

published at http://youtu.be/a0mQGEECyFU

“We decided that it was time that we actually celebrated our own history. We decided to put together an event and it just mushroomed into something so much more.  It is quite a successful day. We’re very happy,” Mann said.

Many organizations were presented including Daughters of Italy, a nationwide group that was founded in 1919.

“(It) started with a kernel of an idea with a few people, expanded to committees and then a lot of outreach in the community,” Daughters of Italy member Maria Vezzetti Matson said.  “And I think today shows how successful that idea was.”

The daughters displayed many kinds of Italian baked goods, including the trademark biscotti cookies.  Also, there was a display that highlighted the work that the organization does.

“And we do a lot of good things for the community because it’s mostly donated,” Daughters of Italy Mary Ann Brazzoni said.  “Any money or proceeds we donate quite a bit of it for different charities so we’re proud of that, too.”

Traditional Italian music and entertainment was available to all attendees as well as an area where people can dress up and pretend to be at an Italian coffee shop.

With so many aspects of the Italian culture on display, which one gets the most attention from people?

“I think it’s the food. Everyone loves Italian food. You don’t have to be Italian to love the food,” said Mann.

And as many people were enjoying the cuisine, competitions were bringing together people of all ages.  All eyes were on the spaghetti-eating contest as Bryan Kinnunen was declared the messy victor.  And the grape-stomping contest brought out laughs from all the participants.

With a great turnout like this, the Festa Italiana is sure to be a yearly event in the Copper Country.