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Italian Fest set for July 27

Visitors check out some of the vendor options at a previous St. Rocco - St. Anthony Society of Ishpeming’s Italian Fest. (Journal photo by Justin Marietti)

ISHPEMING — The St. Rocco – St. Anthony Society of Ishpeming is set to host its quasquicentennial Italian Fest on July 27 at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming.

This event is to help Italian-Americans celebrate St. Rocco and St. Anthony, but also a time for the community to gather to enjoy Italian food, listen to local music and enjoy family said event cook Ann Christensen.

“It is about family, we sing and dance and enjoy ourselves. Even after the event is over,” said Christensen. “My grandpa was one of the members who started this, back then there was no safety net if you got hurt or couldn’t work. They had groups that would help you get on your feet and it eventually turned into this.”

The festival begins at noon and includes a day-long picnic, multiple vendors, many food tents with local Italian families serving their recipes, bingo, bounce houses, traditional Italian games, a greased pole climbing competition and it all ends with a fireworks display at dusk.

“We don’t do those every time,” said Christensen.

A sign advertising this year’s event is seen near Hickory Street in Ishpeming. (Photo courtesy of the St. Rocco - St. Anthony Society of Ishpeming)

She said that the fireworks are a special addition for the quasquicentennial. The festival will feature live music, including performances by Soundz of Time with Jan and Gino, the Diamanti band of Chicago and local band DayDreamers.

“We try to sell out around 3 to 4,” said Christensen. “If you want dinner, you’ll have to come earlier, so we can enjoy the festival.”

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