Since I had the weekend off I was able to enjoy part of my Sunday at the fifth annual “Festival Italiano” which was held at the marina in downtown Fort Pierce, Florida. Only a fifteen-minute drive from my home, I arrived and parked and could hear the sounds of Italian lyrics as I walked toward the water.
Such a great venue for this winter festival ~ the marina in downtown Ft. Pierce on the Indian River Lagoon, or intracoastal waterway. It is the perfect backdrop on this partly cloudy, partly sunny afternoon. The temperature is great, warm enough for shorts and capris, but not too hot.
I had expected more vendors at the festival, but even though the crowd was small while I was there, the main attraction seemed to be the entertainment. An impressive line-up of Italian singers and entertainers was listed and when I arrived, Joe Giardino was singing.
Dressed in a dark suit and a blue tie, this performer was the most formally dressed of anyone here. He was singing songs with Italian lyrics and I loved it. He even sang my favorite song, Con Te Partiro. I watched and listened for awhile, taking some photos and enjoying the ambience. Some people were standing and others came prepared, bringing their own chairs to use. I was glad to be here.
Wandering around, I checked out some of the vendors. All the food vendors were at one end and I wanted to see what was available since I intended to sample some of the Italian offerings. Quite a variety, from sausage and peppers to pizza and calzones, to Italian ice to zeppole, which is Italy’s version of fried dough only better.
Then I spotted the Roma Bakery vendor and sure enough, they had cannoli. I had hoped to find one to bring home for later, so I was smiling to myself. There was also barbecued chicken and ribs, which didn’t seem appropriate for an Italian festival, but this is Ft. Pierce.
The other vendors were surprisingly not all about Italian items, although one was exactly that and I bought a small Italian flag to use when I do my book signings. Others were the typical everyday vendors trying to make a living. In fact I recognized one of them selling clothing. He sets up near our Treasure Coast Writers Guild tent in Vero Beach.
I enjoyed looking out on the water and watching the seagulls flying around. I always feel so peaceful here. All the while I am wandering I can hear the beautiful voice of the Italian singer.
After some time I returned to the food area, and bought a hot sausage sandwich from Guiseppe’s (and yes it is spelled that way) and a Diet Coke. Then I walked back toward the river, where I had noticed some tables earlier. I asked a couple if they minded if I sat near at their table and they said fine. I guess I always enjoy talking with people wherever I go, because we started a conversation, and couldn’t stop talking about Italy. This delightful couple, Jessie and Pat, are soon going to observe their 50th wedding anniversary, and are going to Italy to celebrate! Jessie is from Sicily and speaks fluent Italian and Pat’s father came from a town hear Napoli. I so enjoyed this couple.
Although a lot more went on during the three days of this festival, I was happy to be able to go even for a short while. Kudos to the organizer and Italophile, Jack DiGiorgio, who did a great job. He is the host of the Saturday radio show, “Sabato Italiano,” and I was a guest on his show last fall.
Next year I will plan to stay longer at the festival…I know I will not be disappointed.