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Celebrating 90 Years of Italian Heritage: A Review of Festa Italia Monterey

Celebrating 90 Years of Italian Heritage: A Review of Festa Italia Monterey

A Festive Ode to Italian Heritage: The 90th Festa Italia in Review

The 90th Festa Italia, held in Monterey, California, was a resounding success, drawing locals and visitors alike to celebrate the rich Italian heritage and cultural traditions of the area. This year's event was particularly special, marking its 90th anniversary with an array of activities, music, and, of course, delicious Italian cuisine.

A Culinary Journey to Italy

One of the highlights of the event was the Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino Cooking Demo by award-winning Chef Tene Shake of Kokomo's/Grotto Fish Market. Held on Saturday, September 9th, the demo was a hit among attendees, who also received complimentary copies of Chef Shake's cioppino recipe. The festival offered a wide range of authentic Italian food, including Fried Shrimp, Steak and Sausage Sandwiches, Pasta, Arancini, Cannoli, and Italian cookies. Beverages like Italian sodas, Lavazza coffee, wine, and beer were also available for purchase.

Music and Dance: The Soul of the Festival

The opening night on Friday by "The Money Band" rocked the audience and set the tone for the entire event. "The energy was electric, especially on Friday—never have we seen such a crowd! The entire weekend was a spectacle of top-tier musicians, vocalists, and irresistibly delicious food," said Will Elkadi, Publisher of WhatsUpMonterey. The event featured a stellar line-up of musicians and bands, each adding their unique flavor to the festivities. The Mike Marotta Band, Anthony Lane Band, 831 Allstar Band, and the Tarantella Dancers were among them. The lineup included talented Dennis Murphy, Paul Tarantino, Erasmo Aiello, Rachel Marotta Halim, and Anna Marotta Halim. However, the standout performances were undoubtedly by Pasquale Esposito and Soprano Monika Spruch. Their soul-stirring renditions captivated the audience, making the musical experience at the 90th Festa Italia truly unforgettable.

Sports and Traditions: Bocce and Blessings

Adding to the cultural richness, the event also featured a Bocce Tournament that drew enthusiastic participants and spectators alike. The traditional blessing of the fishing fleet at Old Fisherman's Wharf was another highlight, symbolizing the community's deep-rooted connection to the sea and its resources.

A Nod to Tradition and Heritage

Inaugurated in 1933 with the gifting of a Santa Rosalia statue to the San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey's Festa Italia serves as a living tribute to the area's rich cultural tapestry. Sicilian immigrants flocked to Monterey in the early 20th century, armed with unique expertise in sardine fishing and the use of lampara nets. This influx built upon the earlier contributions of the Chinese community, who had pioneered abalone and squid fishing in the mid-1800s. The Italians then expanded the local fishing repertoire to include salmon and sardines. Over the years, prayers to Santa Rosalia for safe voyages and abundant catches have been answered generously. The annual three-day festival is a vibrant homage to Italian culture, ensuring that these historical narratives continue to thrive.

A Toast to Continued Traditions: Looking Forward to Future Festa Italias

The 90th Festa Italia was a grand celebration that successfully blended tradition with modern festivities. From the mouth-watering Italian cuisine to the soulful music and dance, the event offered something for everyone. It was a weekend of fun, friendship, and a heartfelt tribute to the Italian heritage that has so deeply influenced Monterey. Here's to many more years of Festa Italia!

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