The Italians Are Coming!
The first-ever Italian Heritage Summer Festival
brings more culture to Dubli, Ohio
Four years ago, Sostene Codispoti noticed a shortage of community events for the evergrowing Italian population in central Ohio. While Cleveland has nine annual Italian festivals, Columbus only has one.
“There are a lot more Italians in the area than there ever were,” says Codispoti, “but we feel that the Italian sprit has somewhat declined . … We want to preserve our heritage, culture and traditions, and get more people involved in being Italian.”
Codispoti is president of Columbus’ Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSIA). Founded in 1905, OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization for people of Italian heritage in the country. Codispoti believes it is his responsibility as president of the Columbus branch to exemplify the very best of what it is to be Italian-American.
With chis vision of the OSIA and a mission to fill the gap in Italian events, Codispoti hatched the idea of the Italian Heritage Summer Festival, premiering in Dublin July 13-15.
The festival will include a variety of events at Coffman Park, including the Meatball 5K Walk & Run, a kids’ play area and a marketplace.
Leading the live entertainment is the popular Italian swing band Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms. Codispoti praises the band as “the best Italian band in the land, trust me. They play at Italian festivals across the country.”
Of course, Italian food and drink will be served throughout the festival, including wine from Camelot Cellars Urban Boutique Winery and Massey’s Pizza.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the festival is the Italian-American Cultural Heritage Experience tent. Here, you can begin to uncover the mysteries of your Italian family tree with information about the first Italians in Ohio and a map of Italy, which can help you locate your Italian ancestors. In addition, Ohio children’s book author and illustrator Davide Cuccia will be selling and signing his bilingual children’s books.
Codispoti stresses that this festival isn’t just for Italian-Americans. Hoping to draw in over 50,000 people, Codispoti welcomes everyone to take part in this celebration of Italian culture and heritage.
“We want to bring culture back to life,” says Codispoti. “And to do so, we want to make sure everyone can have a good time.”
By Alex Curran-Cardarelli