19th Annual Sicilian Festival set to rock Little Italy

The Sicilian Festival, famed for its procession featuring costumed musicians and dancers, will bring alive San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20 as part of the 19th Annual Sicilian Festival celebration.

The family event is free and features authentic Sicilian music, dance, culture and cuisine, surrounded by the ambiance of the Little Italy  neighborhood, located within walking distance of the beautiful San Diego harbor and within minutes of San Diego’s downtown district. If you are planning a vacation in San Diego during this time, book your rooms in a San Diego hotel that is located near Little Italy. You will love the ambiance.

Along Beech Street from Kettner to State Streets, car lovers will encounter Bellissimo! A Celebration of Italian Automotive Artistry. Offering an intimate look at a broad spectrum of Italian car designs – including Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Fiat, Lancia, and Alpha Romeo – visitors can mingle with proud car owners and cast their votes for a “Peoples Choice Award” for the car that captures their heart. Participating car clubs include the Ferrari, Alpha Romeo and Fiat/Lancia clubs, as well as support from FIAT Kearny Mesa.

Food booths will represent the many restaurants in Little Italy, serving up Sicilian specialties of all varieties.  Tarantino’s Sausages will also be on hand to serve up some of the best Italian sausages in the nation. Peroni, the official beer sponsor of the Sicilian Festival, will feature a Peroni Nastro Azzurro, the #1 Premium brand in Italy imported from Rome, in the beer and wine pavilion.

Guests will dance in the streets throughout the day.

At 11:30 am, a procession of dozens of costumed dancers, musicians, and representatives of the City and County of San Diego and the House of Italy, Sons of Italy, Italian-American Association, and other San Diego Italian organizations, will parade through the streets carrying flags from the different regions of Sicily and Italy. A very special guest in this years costume parade will be newborn Amelia Tripoli, born March 4, 2012 to Tony and Diana Tripoli who were married at the 2010 Sicilian Festival.

Four stages will feature non-stop Italian and Sicilian entertainment. The event is highlighted by the nationally acclaimed Roman Holiday Ensemble which will be on hand with their costumed musicians and dancers to provide a lively show of Sicilian and Italian music. The Screamin’ Primas will also be featured in a salute to Sicilian-American trumpeter and bandleader Louie Prima. Sicilian Swing’s New Orleans Italian jazz ensemble and renowned soprano Cristina Fontanelli will be among notable Italian-themed acts to be enjoyed at the Festival. The Grape Street stage will feature culinary demonstrations from San Diego’s leading chefs, highlighted by a pasta-eating contest.

All children’s activities are free, and include a large inflatable slide, puppet theatre shows, face painting, and many other activities to keep the bambini entertained throughout day.

A Sicilian cultural zone will feature photo and cultural displays by local and national authors and artisans that reflect the Sicilian American heritage in San Diego. The area will feature chalk art and displays of the rich history of San Diego’s tuna fishing industry, which flourished from the beginning of the 20th century until the 1970s. Among the exhibitors will be the San Diego History Center, Maritime Museum, and the Women’s Museum of California.

Free street parking is available throughout the Little Italy neighborhood. Free parking is available in the north lot of the County Administration Building, with a free shuttle to the Festival. The AMTRAK station is less than a mile from the Sicilian Festival area and can be reached either by foot or by using the San Diego Trolley. The Coaster also runs on Sunday. Take the MTS Trolley’s Blue Line to the County Center/Little Italy Station.

And there’s free parking at many of the Trolley’s park-and-ride lots (especially Qualcomm Stadium).  Also, on weekends, two children (12 and under) ride free with a paid adult (18 and over).

Little Italy is the first stop on the blue line north. Approved by the AAA and a proud member of the San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce, the California Suites Hotel is a leading budget hotel in San Diego which is centrally located. All the popular beaches including Harbor Beach, La Jolla Cove, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach are nearby. Even shopping centers, Balboa Park and other major attractions are a few minutes away.

Well-known for its hospitality, California Suites Hotel provides fine services at affordable prices which include continental breakfast, large swimming pool, cable with HBO, high speed Internet access, free parking, laundry facilities and more.

Courtesy: Southwest Riverside News Network

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