Italian festa celebrates culture, helps educate youth

Aug 10, 2015 702

For 92-year-old August Frasco, staying active is the key to longevity. He still rides his lawn mower in his yard to cut his grass every week, and attends events with the Italian-American Society of Peoria. "A lot of my friends are gone. I like coming to festivals like these, because I get to meet new people all the time," Frasco said. He was referring to the 86th annual Italian Summer Festa held Sunday at Hickory Grove Park.

Organizers were hoping for a turnout of about 800 people for the yearly celebration of Italian culture. "For us, it's really helpful because it's our major fundraiser of the year for our scholarship program," said Kathryn Occhipinti, president of the Italian-American Society of Peoria. "We awarded four scholarships to very well-deserving young people of Italian descent." Dave Facker, the scholarship chairman and former president of the group, said the society has given more than $84,000 in scholarships since 1979.

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