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Reprinted by permission of Peg DeGrassa, Senior Editor, Delco News Network (Town Talk, Press Papers, News of Delaware County)
UPPER PROVIDENCE, Pa. — There was a lot of “mangia, mangia” on the afternoon of June 4 in Rose Tree Park when the 13th annual Italian American Heritage Festival attracted thousands of guests hoping to get a taste of all things Italian.
Under beautiful sunny skies and with Italian spices wafting through the air, dozens of food vendors served pasta, meatballs, pizza and other Italian and American favorites, as well as desserts featuring everything from homemade gelato and espresso to cannoli, tiramisu and zeppole.
Other vendors offered a plethora of items, from Italian-themed T-shirts, specialty groceries and unique novelties to jewelry, ﬂags, skin-care products and toys.
DiFabio’s Restaurant in Media was among the food vendors. Slightly after 2 p.m., manager Jonathan Allyn said his booth sold well over 100 cheesesteaks, and its Rosati Water Ice cart was also a big hit.
Chef Michael Meyers, owner of Mother Nature’s Sun in Kennett Square, Pa., also seemed pleased with the day’s steady stream of customers. Sunday marked his third year selling food at the festival. His booth was selling gourmet crab cakes, vegan mushroom cakes, fried shrimp, fries, and sweet potato fries with Jamaican Dust.
“I sold at least a couple hundred crab cakes today and we still have a few hours to go,” Meyers said, as he hustled ﬁlling customers’ orders in midafternoon.
With free admission, the family-friendly festival drew all ages, most guests just enjoying a day to stroll leisurely through the park, admire Italian sports cars, meet local writers at the authors’ tent, play some bocce and relax on chairs in front of the stage, watching entertainers Steven Silicato, Donnah Lisa Campbell, and Greg Martiello and Tony Rastelli of The Chosen Few.
Actress Mary Lou Koch and Italian radio personality Melissa Cannavo-Marino emceed the event and recognized more than a dozen dignitaries who were present.
“We always have a huge crowd, but this year is over the top,” said Nick Rapagnani, president of Associazione Regionale Abruzzese Delco and a chief festival organizer. “It’s a huge success — I’d have to say that this is our best festival yet!”
The Italian American Heritage Festival is planned and hosted by the Coalition of Italian American Organizations of Delaware County, made up of L’Associazione Regionale Abruzzese Delco, the Delaware County Justinian Society, Associazione Abruzzese of the Delaware Valley, the St. Anthony diPadova Society, Societa Da Vinci, Sons & Daughters of Italy, Christopher Columbus Memorial Association and Filitalia Delco.
Proceeds from the festival beneﬁ t local charities including the Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence; HEADstrong Foundation; Cooley’s Anemia; Italian studies and nursing programs at local universities; the Delaware County Law Enforcement Memorial and the Delaware County Fallen Fireﬁ ghter and EMS Memorial, both situated in Rose Tree Park.