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8/10/2011 10:08:00 AM
Festival celebrates 'la vita dolce'
Festa Italiana photo
Crowds for Festa Italiana fill Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Festa Italiana photo
Crowds for Festa Italiana fill Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Portland’s Italian-Americans who coordinate Festa Italiana hope to share a little bit of “la vita dolce.”

The annual event, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, was created as a means to unify Italian-Americans in Portland and share their culture with Portlanders from other backgrounds.

“Everybody seems to have some connection to Italy,” said Mike Sciaraffo, one of the event organizers. “People love Italian, food, culture, wine – there is so much culture that comes from that country and continues in this country.”

The week of celebration starts with a Mass, celebrated in Italian by Father Todd Molinari, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The special liturgy will include Italian music, and be followed by dessert in the church hall.

The following day fans of bocce will gather at Club Paesano’s Cedarville Park in Gresham for a double-elimination tournament, starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending when the final players win the tournament. Later that day, cycle enthusiasts will gather in Portland’s Pearl District from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., for the Giro Di Portland, a criterium bicycle race through the streets, sponsored by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. The six-corner course, with fast corners, cobblestones, elevation gain and a long run to the finish, is lined be restaurants where spectators can eat and drink while cheering for the racers.

For fans of the cinema, a free screening of Mario Marone’s “Noi Credevamo,” subtitled, will show from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Fifth Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall St.

Finally, the Festa kicks off Thursday, Aug. 25, at 11 a.m., at Pioneer Courthouse Square, at 701 SW Sixth Ave.  The three-day event features Italian musicians, food, dancing and drinks. Kids can check out marionette shows, while food and wine fans can watch the pizza toss event or a grape stomp. Each day, the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free.

Related Stories:
• Tradition of hospitality lives on at corner
• 'Going like a house on fire'
• Social clubs promote Italian culture
• Italian immigrants became key part of Portland life
• An ancient sport bonds young and old

Related Links:
• Festa Italiana

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