Festival Italiano takes place each year at Belmar (Wadsworth and Alameda) in early September. This festival includes many events such as the Bella Luna Circus, grape stomping, and flag throwing. The festival also has plenty of traditional Italian foods such as pasta alfredo, Italian cream soda, and cannolis.
Bella Luna Circus was a 30 minute show with a variety of acts and lively costumes. Juggling, rings, fire, acrobatics, and balance acts make the 30 minutes fly by. At the grape stomping booth, the organization put kids into large bins with grapes on the bottom and had them stomp until all of the grapes were smashed. The flag throwing took place at the intersection of Alaska Drive and South Vance Street. Ten performers lined up at the beginning of the show, and then two of them played extended trumpets, two performers played drums, one performer held an Italian banner and also threw flags, and five performers did the actual flag throwing performance. The music was unique to me, I had not really heard anything like that before. They are from Florence, Italy. Chris Daniels and the Kings, a local band, also played music during the festival, but I wasn’t there during this time.
From a food perspective we tried the calamari which was delicious. We also tried cannolis that had cherry on the inside, and the Italian cream soda flavored with vanilla and blueberry. My family also brought some huge rice crispy treats. We also saw an artichoke appetizer, but they were sold out by the time we got to the booth. If you see something, get it right away!
For younger kids they also had magicians, face painting, caricature artists, and street entertainers like the guy walking on stilts. These activities were repeated throughout the day, so no matter when you come, there is something to see. Most of the entertainers were focusing on Italian themed songs.
The overall vibe was family oriented and exciting. Lots of stuff going on all at once. The crowds were large but not so large that you couldn’t get to see and do what you are interested in. The adults were enjoying wine and food, while families explored and played.