Festa Italiana
Press Release

Authentic Food, Groovy Music and Family Fun at Festa Italiana July 19-21

Join the Italian party on Milwaukee’s lakefront featuring authentic foods, exciting new beverages and wines, culture, entertainment and the loudest Italian fireworks on Saturday and Sunday nights!

By - Jul 15th, 2019 11:08 am

MILWAUKEE – July 8, 2019 – Festa Italiana is excited to combine new selections with old favorites to this year’s festival on Milwaukee’s lakefront July 19-21. True to tradition and Italian roots, get ready to loosen up your belts and put your dancing shoes on for a weekend of authentic Italian food, drinks, activities, entertainment and more!

Celebrating its 42nd year of Italian heritage and culture, festivalgoers can look forward to a full line-up of musical entertainment ranging from authentic Italian classic covers to far-out disco and country rock. Headlining performers include three-time Grammy Award winner and iconic group KC and The Sunshine Band, award-winning singer/songwriter Phil Vassar, the Femmes of Rock, Sicily’s Angelo Venuto, Frankie Moreno and many more.

This year’s festival will also offer a range of activities fun for the whole famiglia. Take on some friends in a riveting game of bocce ball, or get the kids together for the annual Kids Pizza Making Contest. The carnival also promises a spinning good time for those who love rides and games!

“Mangiare” means “EAT!” Festa Welcomes Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta, Angelo Caputo’s and Milk Bottle Bakery

Get ready to enjoy a weekend of authentic Italian eats! New and returning favorites this year include:

  • NEW: Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta. A Chicago staple from the Rudy Malnati family, Pizano’s will offer Festa-goers authentic deep-dish Chicago-style pizza by the slice, along with the Pizano’s famous chopped salad.
  • NEW: Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Market. Founded by Angelo Caputo, who grew up in Mola Di Bari, a seaside village on Italy’s Southeast coast, the family owned and operating market has been bringing fresh foods to customers for over 60 years and includes seven stores throughout the Chicagoland area. Caputo’s will offer Festa-goers imported stuffed zucchini flowers, Sicillian eggplant parmesan sandwich, bada bing shrimp, octopus salad, and tomato bocconcini salad.
  • NEW: Milk Bottle Bakery. This Milwaukee-based bakery is giving attendees the option to eat an entire Muffaletta! Festa-goers can also just order a half. They will also offer an Italian Beef, Zeppole, and a chocolate & hazelnut parfait.

Other returning food favorites in 2019 include: Alioto’s, Albanese’s, Bartolotta’s, Divino Wine & Dine, Gelateria Italiana, Papa Luigi’s, Peter Sciortino Bakery, Pietro’s Pizza, Saz’s, Vivere Italian Restaurant and of course, Festa Sausage provided by Sendik’s complete with a seeded Italian roll and your choice of garnish – Mangia!

Check out the complete list of food and vendors at: http://festaitaliana.com/fooddrink/menus.

Cucina Showcase and Bartolotta Tribute

Festa Italiana will also host a fantastic line-up of local chef demonstrations and foodie competitions in its Cucina Showcase, including the annual Cannoli Eating Contest on Saturday, July 20, and Kid’s Pizza Making Contest on Sunday, July 21. Full Cucina Showcase Schedule can be found here.

Festa will also be holding a special tribute to Joe Bartolotta in the Cucina Showcase on Saturday, July 20. Bartolotta, a pillar in the Italian community and strong proponent of the Italian Community Center, was a friend to all. Festa will be celebrating his dedication to the Italian community and legacy by Bartolotta chefs at 1:30 and 4:15 p.m. in the Cucina Showcase.

Entertainment Energico

Festa Italiana is bringing back the Italian favorites festa-goers have come to love over the years, as well as new artists and bands that celebrate Italian culture all weekend long! Highlights include:

  • KC and the Sunshine Band: Festa is excited to welcome KC and the Sunshine Band to headline Saturday, July 20. With over 100 million records sold, three Grammy Awards and an American Music Award, Festa-goers can dust of their disco shoes and shake until they drop with one of music’s most iconic groups – enjoying a string of hits like “Get Down Tonight,” “That’s The Way (I Like It)” and “Shake Your Booty.”
  • Phil Vassar: Festa is thrilled to welcome back Milwaukee favorite, award-winning singer/songwriter Phil Vassar, in his only Milwaukee summer performance Sunday, July 21. Vassar’s “Histeria Tour” celebrates 20 years of chart-topping hits including 10 number one singles and 26 Top 40 hits.

New at Festa this year will be an entire lineup of regional acts from the Midwest on the U.S. Cellular stage. The full list of acts and their varietal genres includes:

  • Buffalo Gospel – Country/Americana, Greater Milwaukee Area
  • FBI & the Untouchable Horns – Funk, R&B and horns, Fox Valley, Wis.
  • The Flat Cats with Amanda Wolff & Myles Hayes – Swing and jazz, Chicago
  • Fort Frances – Sensitive rock, Chicago
  • Jayne Taylor – singer/songwriter, Greater Milwaukee Area
  • Keith Pulvermacher – Midwestern, Oconomowoc, Wis.
  • Koch-Marshall Trio with Rick Vito – Rock, jazz and blues, Greater Milwaukee Area (Originally from Pennsylvania, Rick Vito is also a former member of legendary super group Fleetwood Mac!)
  • Liam Ford Band – Rockabilly, Greater Milwaukee Area
  • Mic Over Matter – Covers, Greater Milwaukee Area
  • Noyz Boyz & Gyrlz – Classic rock, horns, Greater Milwaukee Area
  • WheelHouse – Americana/Bluegrass, Madison, Wis.

Additional exciting acts include: Femmes of Rock, Frankie Moreno, The Sicilian Tenors, Joe Scalisi, The Four C Notes, Hotel California, Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms, Festa favorite The Russo Brothers, Cory Pesaturo, Tony Spavone, Jenna Esposito and more!

Check out Festa’s exciting entertainment line-up here: http://festaitaliana.com/entertainment/entertainment-schedule/

Festa Italiana Expands New Beverage Offerings

Festa will be offering exciting new beverage offerings for attendees this year, including the Aperol Spritz, the official drink, and Peroni on tap, the official beer, of Festa Italiana 2019. In addition, Festa-goers can also enjoy over 25 varieties of Italian wines, beer on tap and cigars complete with whiskey and bourbon pairings! Also new is the Campari Club, serving handmade Italian cocktails including the Aperol Spritz, while providing entertainment, dancing, food tastings and giveaways all weekend long! Featured guest, DJ Rozario, an emerging and talented Milwaukee-based DJ, will be spinning Italian tracks throughout the evening!

For more information on Italia handcrafted cocktails and new wine and beer offerings, visit: http://festaitaliana.com/fooddrink/beverages/

New – That’s Amore! The Dating Game Friday, July 19

Festa Italiana is partnering with professional matchmakers from It’s Just Lunch Milwaukee, to host its very own Italian love connection. Join singles on Friday, July 19 to help bachelors and bachelorette’s find their perfect Italian match in the Klement’s Backyard Stage at 8 p.m. For singles interested in participating, fill out the dating profile on the Festa website by Sunday, July 14. Selected bachelor and bachelorettes will be notified on Tuesday, July 16. Interested singles can also register in person at Festa in the Klement’s Backyard Stage from 6-7 p.m. For more information on details and how to enter, please visit: http://festaitaliana.com/activities/the-dating-game/.

Tradizioni for All!

  • Bring your sweet tooth and your stomachs for the popular Cannoli Eating Competition in the Cucina Showcase. Beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, contestants will begin this stomach-to-stomach battle. The number of cannoli to beat is 14 in four minutes. Be sure to register by 1 p.m. that same Saturday.
  • The Italian Heritage Photo and Pompeii Church Exhibit gives visitors a chance to see what life was like for Italian ancestors, from the living conditions years ago, to the type of work they performed and the experiences they had. This year’s exhibit will feature the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Exhibit with statuary and art from Italian societies and churches, including St. Rita and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Also, this year’s exhibit will feature saint celebrations that Italians have been practicing for hundreds of years. Festa-goers can also take in a collection of more than 2,500 photographs of families, street scenes and places of business that span a seventy-year period.
  • Sing your heart out at this year’s 12th Italian Idol each night at 8:30 p.m. on the Cucina Showcase Stage. This year’s talent competition will feature new and exciting elements, including celebrating Lady Gaga as one of Festa’s “Italian Idols.” On Friday, Festa will be hosting a “Dress Like Gaga” contest, and a Club Idol Dance Party. Also new, this year contestants have the option to accompany themselves on acoustic guitar or ukulele. To pre-audition, please follow Italian Idol on Facebook for information and updates.
  • Italian Car Display Saturday, July 20.
  • 42nd Bocce Ball Tournament taking place Sunday, July 21.
  • Gondola Rides happening each day – complete with authentic gondoliers!
  • Watch “Sbandieratori Ducato Caetani” Flag-throwers from Sermoneta with performances throughout the grounds!
  • The traditional Festa Italiana Sunday Mass and Procession will be led by Father Thomas Suriano at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 21 in the BMO Harris Pavilion. Non-perishable donations to Hunger Task Force upon entrance to Mass is encouraged.
  • And don’t miss the loudest Italian fireworks on Saturday and Sunday around 10:30 p.m.!

Advance tickets for Festa Italiana are on sale now online.  Purchase your advance online ticket for $10 through July 18 at http://www.festaitaliana.com. For ticket questions, please call 414-223-2808.

Daily Admission Information/Deals

Festa Italiana offers plenty of affordable ways to visit the festival!   Purchase your advance tickets online today at www.festaitaliana.com through July 18 for a discounted rate of $10.00.

  • Admission tickets are $13.00 at the gate and children ages 12 and under are admitted free for all three days when accompanied by an adult.


  • Gates open 3:00 p.m. – Midnight.
  • VIP Day: Noon – 3 p.m. Those with physical challenges along with their caregivers receive free admission and half-price on two selected food items. Courtesy of Festa Italiana and Summerfest.  Special VIP ticket needed. Please pick up your ticket at the Italian Community Center.


  • Gates open Noon – Midnight.


  • Gates open Noon – 11:00 p.m.
  • 10:15 a.m. – Gates open for Festa Italiana Mass on the south end
  • Hunger Task Force will be collecting non-perishable food items upon entrance to mass outside the BMO Harris Pavilion.
  • Day of Service: Firefighters, Law Enforcement, Teachers and Military receive free admission for the individual of service and one guest.  To receive your free entry, present a vaild employee ID at the cashier window at the main gate.  Active and former military members and one guest can receive free entry with a valid military ID or DD-214 with valid ID at the cashier window at the main gate. 

About Festa Italiana

The 42nd annual Festa Italiana takes place at Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds) on Milwaukee’s lakefront Friday, July 19, to Sunday, July 21. Festa Italiana is one of the largest Italian events of its kind in America today. The Festival began over 40 years ago for the purpose of reuniting an Italian community torn apart by urban renewal projects and was the first ethnic festival in Milwaukee on the Summerfest grounds. Today, several ethnic festivals are celebrated on Milwaukee’s lakefront and the city is now widely known as the City of Festivals. Through the dedication of more than 2,000 volunteers, the annual Festa Italiana has become a favorite family event to Milwaukee and surrounding areas. For more information on the festival, please visit www.FestaItaliana.com or call (414) 223-2808.

Mentioned in This Press Release

Recent Press Releases by Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana

Authentic Food, Groovy Music and Family Fun at Festa Italiana July 19-21

Join the Italian party on Milwaukee’s lakefront featuring authentic foods, exciting new beverages and wines, culture, entertainment and the loudest Italian fireworks on Saturday and Sunday nights!

Festa Italiana Expands Beverage Offerings, Welcomes Aperol Spritz, Peroni as Official Drinks of 2019 Summer Festival, July 19-21

Festa will offer over 25 varieties of Italian wines, new Italia cocktails, cigar and bourbon pairings and Campari Club to the grounds!

Legendary KC & The Sunshine Band to Headline Festa Italiana Saturday, July 20

Experience this Grammy Awarding-winning band for the cost of a Festa admission ticket

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us