SOUTHINGTON — The community came together to celebrate Italian-American culture again this weekend.
Sponsored by Sons of Italy, Southington UNICO, and the women’s group Sorelle d’Italia, the annual Italian- American Festival began Saturday and continued through Sunday evening on Center Street.
The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic. Organizers said they didn’t want another year to go by without a festival.
“It’s to keep the tradition alive,” said David Zoni, UNICO’s representative to the festival committee.
Singers Aaron Caruso and Graziano Lazzaro performed on Saturday night, singing Italian as well as American classics.
Sunday morning’s celebration began with an Italian mass followed by a procession of the statue of the Madonna downtown.
During the celebration, visitors enjoyed dishes from food tents run by nonprofit groups.
“It’s a great place, and a great celebration to attend to reconnect with your heritage,” said Southington resident Aria Gallo. “I also enjoy knowing that when I spend money here, they go to a good cause.”
Donna Rancourt, who attended with her husband Dewayne, said attending Italian festivals makes her feel happy and “warm inside.”
“I am Italian and I grew up with Italian people...,” said Rancourt. “Every year we look for these events and the one in Southington is just great.”
Several visitors praised the festival for its music and thanked the organizers for creating a “positive vibe” in town.
“I was so upset when the festival was canceled last year,” said local resident Lucia Conti. “This festival is so inclusive, it welcomes everyone and I feel like it truly unites our community.”