COLLINSVILLE: The 33rd annual ‘Italian Fest’ kicks off at 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16. and will continue on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies are planned to be held on the Venezia Stage along Seminary street on Friday prior to festivities.
Since it’s humble beginnings in 1984, the city of Collinsville has been celebrating the Italian culture and heritage that the city was built upon. Each year, on the third weekend of September, the smell of authentic Italian food fills the streets. The festival features live music and events ranging from a grape stomp, to an annual Bocce Ball tournament, to the annual Italian Fest parade kicking off at 4 P.M. on Saturday. There will also be a 5K Walk/Run, with registration at 6:30 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. and the race starting at 8 a.m. The Kids Fun Run will follow at 9 a.m.
This year the Italian Fest Exhibition features different vehicles around the theme, “Italian Sports Cars: Built for Speed!” The exhibition features educational content on Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, and more. Admission to the exhibition is free and is held at the Collinsville Memorial Library.
According to festival organizers, the money raised at the Italian Fest will return to the community. Most vendors of the 40+ booths are volunteers working on behalf of civic organizations and charities. More than $1 million has been raised over the years by these vendors. Some of the organizations present at the festival are the Collinsville High School Bands, the Collinsville Rotary, Boy Scouts of America, and Mission of Moms.
Parking may be limited, but festival organizers suggest using free Madison County Transit shuttle from Dorris Intermediate School, 1841 Vandalia.
Follow The Collinsville Chronicle on social media and on www.collinsvillechronicle.com for exclusive coverage of the 2016 Italian Fest. Coverage during the event will follow.