Third Annual Festa Italiana Raleigh features performers from Italy, North Carolina, and Tennessee

Aug 26, 2021 853

BY: Larry Vellani

Festa Italiana Raleigh is expanding its performer card in its third annual celebration of all things Italian and American-Italian on Saturday September 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the intersection of North Boylan Avenue and Tucker Street, just west of downtown Raleigh.

Festa Italiana Raleigh—the Triangle’s largest, most diverse, annual celebration of Italian and American Italian culture—is free, welcoming to all, and open to the public. Proceeds beyond event costs help support two important Triangle charities: Spare Some for Autism, Inc., and Military Missions in Action, Inc. (MMIA).

Culturally relevant chefs, vendors, musicians, merchants, dancers, wineries, genealogists, and food trucks, as well as select community organizations, will line both sides of Tucker Street between Glenwood and Boylan Avenues, and both sides of North Boylan Avenue from Tucker to West Johnson Streets in the Glenwood South Neighborhood, which the City of Raleigh is closing to vehicles for the day.

Festa Italiana Raleigh provides the most comprehensive, annual showcase of authentic Italian music, dance, food, and beverage from across the peninsula and throughout the Italian diaspora. For eight full hours, across two live stages, as well as a live-curated DJ based in Lucky B’s Cortile, Festa goers will enjoy sounds ancient and modern, acoustic, electric and electronic, across the Bel Canto; Classical Opera; Contemporary Singer-Songwriter; Mid Century Light Opera & Show Tunes; Rock and Roll; Synth Rock; and Traditional Italian Roots and Folk (musica popolare).

A special, first-ever feature of this year’s Festa will be an appearance by Mark “Chef Marco” Sciortino from Buffalo, NY. Owner of “Marco’s Italian Restaurant“ and “Marco’s Italian Deli,” both fixtures in Buffalo and Western New York. Chef Marco has been creating and serving traditional, family-favorite, Italian dishes for more than 30 years. Chef Marco is also a successful television personality, since 2008 appearing on national television shows and at community festivals celebrating authentic Italian cuisine. Currently, Chef Marco is hosting his ninth season of “Come Dine with Me WNY!” and “Winging it Buffalo Style.” Along with his Buffalo media franchise and his coast-to-coast festival appearances, Chef Marco has appeared on numerous morning shows in Los Angeles, South Florida, and New York. Chef Marco is in his thirteenth year as a creative representative for Galbani, an historic Lombardian specialty cheese enterprise, founded in 1882, and now a subsidiary of Lactalis Italia. Galbani is one of this year’s Festa Super Sponsors. Chef Marco will be performing, along side other local and regional chefs in the Cortile Stage area on Tucker Street.

Michela Musolino and Fabio Turchetti headline the day-long array of music and dance. Musolino & Turchetti have performed together throughout Italy, as well as on both coasts of the US, in Eastern Europe, and at North American folk festivals from West Virginia to Montana. The international duo—Musolino, voice and Sicilian frame drums, a Sicilian-American resident in Nashville, TN, USA; and Turchetti, a native and resident of Cremona, Lombardia, Italy, on accordion, guitar, and organetto—perform world music tethered to Sicilian traditions, but open to the contemporary, with textures shaped by jazz and the experimental. Their repertoire spans from songs of Sicilian mariners to original compositions inspired by the folk lore and mythology of Sicily. Musolino and Turchetti will perform twice, on each of the two main festival stages—one on Boylan at Johnson, and the other on Tucker at Glenwood.

Among the other Festa Italiana headliners, performing on either the Boylan or Tucker stages—or both--are Mebanesville, performing music from across the Italian peninsula and diaspora; veteran crooner and interpreter of the American-Italian songbook, Bill Stonehouse; singer-songwriter Angela Parchetta; classical opera soprano and tenor, Ariel Reed and Mitchener Howell; 80’s synth-rockers, ADSR, led by Turin’s Manguss DC; Neapolitan and Bel Canto tenor Carlo Barba; world accordionist David DiGiuseppe; the ballo liscio dance troupe Ballando coi Lupi; Daniel Mazzerina’s contemporary rock band, Juke Box; rock and jazz cover-artists, Backfence Trio; and DJ Ross-C, spinning Italian and American-Italian hits from across the generations from Lucky B’s Cortile Stage.

Joining DJ Ross-C in the Cortile on Tucker Street will be a Festa first: a series of short, master demonstrations on preparing specific Italian culinary classics, sponsored by Galbani and curated by Nick Verna, and featuring accomplished Italian capocuochi (chefs), preparing items such as aioli, gnocchi, arrancini, and busiate alla trapanese. Galbani creative representative Mark “Chef Marco” Sciortino is among the notable chefs headlining these audience-engaging culinary demonstrations.

In addition to the culinary demonstrations, vintners and sommeliers Emmanuele Magnani and Elia Gentile of Sunrise Wines will discuss with Festa goers their sumptuous wines from small, boutique Italian wineries owned and operated by people that Emmanuele knows personally and who share his same passion for life and wine..

Festa Italiana Raleigh, and its celebration of culture and philanthropy, would not be possible without the generous support of corporate, retail, and household sponsors, beginning with this year’s Super Sponsors (by alpha): Army of Painters, Inc.; BridgePoint General Contractors; Carolina Wealth Partners; Galbani; Lowes Foods; Triangle Electrical Services, Inc., and Wegmans. This year’s Platinum and Gold Sponsors, respectively, are HPW Foundation and Lucky B’s (Platinum), and APC Towers; Artauro Productions; Barringer Construction; Cynthia Quarantello Realty; Devin G. Home Team Realty; DiRienzo Builders, LLC; Duke Energy; Glenwood Agency Real Estate; INSPRO Professionals; Mighty Dog Roofing; and Trinity Partners. There is also a host of generous Silver Sponsors: Blue Heron Asset Management; Cary Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry; Drs. Marc Benevides & Frank Tortora; Holly Springs Eye Associates; Jim & Tracie Caravello; Johnson Maserati Alfa Romeo of Cary; Mebanesville; Melina’s Fresh Pasta; Renaissance Funeral Home & Crematory; Tesoro Hair Design; Triangle Sons & Daughters of Italy; Unicorn Group of NC; and Zebra Print Solutions.

Festa Italiana Raleigh was the brainchild of Mike Lombardo and retired Carolina Hurricanes’ star left winger, Bates Battaglia. Lombardo and Battaglia’s sports bistro, Lucky B’s at 609 Tucker Street is one of the Festa anchoring venues along Tucker Street, transforming the Lucky B’s patio into the Festa’s food court and the Cortile performance area.

For more information about Festa Italiana Raleigh, Inc., or its supported charities, visit, or contact either of Festa Italiana Raleigh’s volunteer co-chairs, Fran Giannuzzi at or via 919-349-0138; or Anthony Luise, or via 919.796.4494.

You may be interested