Festa Italiana
Press Release

In Honor of 40 years, Festa Italiana to Offer One Day, $4 Ticket Sale Monday, July 17

Festa Italiana brings Italy to Milwaukee’s lakefront featuring Italian flag-throwers, food, culture, entertainment, attractions and Bartolotta fireworks every night!

By - Jul 14th, 2017 12:00 pm

MILWAUKEE – July 10, 2017 – Festa Italiana, presented by Calypso Lemonades, today announced, in honor of its 40th anniversary, they will be offering a one day, $4 ticket promotion on Monday, July 17. The $4 tickets can be purchased online at http://www.festaitaliana.com starting at 12:00 A.M. Monday, July 17.

Festa is celebrating forty years of food, family and tradition at this year’s festival taking place July 21-23 on Milwaukee’s lakefront. In those 40 years, the festival has grown into the largest Italian event of its kind in America today. Originating as a way to bring together an Italian community torn apart by urban renewal projects, Festa was the first ethnic festival to take place in Henry Maier Festival Park. Festa was a “coming home” party for many Italians and served as a chance to share the best of the Italian culture with the community.

Music Headliners

  • BoDeans (Friday, July 21 – 9 p.m.): Formed in Waukesha, Wisconsin, BoDeans today are known as one of the best live acts in the business as the band continues to tour year-round and deliver amazing, high energy performances. As a small contingent of bands that inspired a new radio format known as Adult Alternative, Album Rock-Triple A, their reputation for delivering a dynamic live show garnered support slots with U2/Joshua Tree Tour, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, George Thorogood, The Pretenders, David Bowie, and appearances at Farm Aid, Summerfest, and ACL, among others.
  • Gin Blossoms (Saturday, July 22 – 9 p.m.): Festa Italiana welcomes the Gin Blossoms Saturday, July 22! Sing along to favorite hits including “Hey Jealousy,” “Allison Road,” “Until I Fall Away,” “Mrs. Rita,” and “Til I Hear It From You!” Gin Blossoms’ fusion of Pop, Melodic Rock, Folk and Country elements that took the airwaves by siege, making the band an MTV playlist hostage for almost a decade and the group a natural 90’s mainstay. From their breakout album through today, Robin, Jesse, Bill and Scotty have sold over 10 million records and are one of the most in demand 90’s live artists who began at the end of the grunge era. In February 2017, the band went back in the studio recording a new album in time for release this Summer. Fans will get a taste of the new album as it works its way into their live set beginning this April.
  • Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti (Saturday, July 22 – 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 23 – 8:30 p.m.): Season 11 of the NBC hit show “America’s Got Talent” was taken by storm by Sal Valentinetti. This year at Festa, Sal looks to continue that momentum. The 20-year-old College Student that delivered Pizza for his cousin’s Italian restaurant was now in the spot light. Belting out the classic Frank Sinatra hit “My Way,” Sal not only received a standing ovation but got the coveted “Golden Buzzer” from judge Heidi Klum, who he later performed a duo with singing “Santa Baby”. Although Sal did not win the overall competition, he rose to stardom and his professional music career was launched. The Italian American crooner is know best known for his flawless vocals, larger than life personality and heart of gold.
  • Dick Contino Tribute Concert (Sunday, July 23 – 6 p.m.): Festa will present a memorial salute to famed accordionist Dick Contino on Sunday, July 23 at 6 PM.  Contino performed at Festa 34 times in its 40-year history.  Participants in the special tribute show include Contino’s son, Pete, his daughter, Deidre, three-time World Champion accordionist and Contino protégé Cory Pescaturo, Russo Brothers and Ray Massa, among others.
  • Other Exciting Acts Include: Dog N’ Butterfly – the Ultimate Tribute Band, Violin Femmes starting Bella Electric Strings, Tre Principesse, Russo Brothers, Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms, The Sicilian Tenors, Anna Calemme, Tony Spavone and the Florentine Opera! Also, members of the UW Marching Band will perform a 5th Quarter Performance for Festa-goers on Saturday and Sunday!

Festa 2017 Highlights:

  • Back by popular demand are the Flag-Throwers of the Florentine!  (Sbanderatori dei Borghi e Sestieri Fiorentini).  The dynamic group of 16 will entertain audiences with a colorful show of choral exercises, music and flags symbolic of a historic Italian victory celebration!  Festa Italiana attendees can watch the Flag-Throwers of the Florentine perform throughout the Festa grounds, in the opening ceremony and weekend parades, during Sunday’s mass and procession, as well as in the sports court.  For a full schedule of performances visit: http://festaitaliana.com/entertainment/flag-throwers/
  • To celebrate 40 years of history, the Italian Heritage Photo and Pompeii Church Exhibit will return, sharing photos of hundreds of Milwaukee’s early Italian families.  This year the exhibit will include several of the original religious murals that were hung in the original Our Lady of Pompeii Church.  The church was torn down in 1967 and longtime Italian Community Center member, Mario Carini, rescued the murals and donated them to the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
  • Tour the sights at Festa Italiana!  Take your photo in front of the famous Trevi Fountain “La Fontana di Trevi.” Marvel at Festa’s replica of the famous Coliseum Display – the iconic symbol of imperial Rome, take a trip to the St. Marco Venetian Tower Display – representing the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica located in the Piazza San Marco in Venice’s principal public square, and get a picture with the Statue of David Replica – Michelangelo’s famous masterpiece.  Festa’s replica emulates the 17 feet tall original!
  • Fun for the Whole Famiglia! Festa offers fun-filled activities and attractions for kids and adults to enjoy, including a FREE CARNIVAL, splash zone, LEGO activities tent, parade through the grounds Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 PM, and daily performances on the Children’s Stage.  Children 12 and under are FREE all three days of Festa.

Your Ticket to Italian Flavor

Eat your way through Italy at Festa Italiana!  Italian favorites will return including pizza, Italian sausage, arancini (rice ball), toasted ravioli, fried calamari, eggplant sticks, sfincione, spiedini, meatball sandwiches and sfingi!  Saving the best for last?  Festa is the place to satisfy your sweet tooth with cannoli, Italian cookies, cappuccino puffs and fresh gelato!

Calling all foodies….Festa’s popular Cucina Showcase will be host to a variety of food-related activities including cooking demonstrations from some of Milwaukee’s finest chefs, the popular Cannoli Contest on Saturday, July 22 at 3:30 p.m. and the Kid’s Pizza Making Contest (Ages 5-17) on Saturday, July 22 beginning at 4:15 p.m.  Don’t miss Celebrity Chef Rossella Rago on Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23. Rago is the host of the popular web cooking show “Cooking With Nonna” (www.cookingwithnonna.com).

Sipping also goes with eating!  Festivalgoers can enjoy some of Italy’s finest wines throughout the grounds, provided by LoDuca Wines and Corvina Wine Company.  Wine coolers, wine cocktails and wine flights will also be available!

New food items guests can look forward to include: Alioto’s Mostaccioli in Red Sauce; Trattoria di Carlo’s Sfingi with Amaretto Sauce; Carini La Conca D’Oro’s Sicilian Steak Sandwich, Sicilian Steak & Pasta and Sicilian Lasagna (Anelletti al Forno). Complete food menus can be downloaded at: http://festaitaliana.com/fooddrink/menus.

Your Ticket to Fun – Italian Style!

The traditional Italian game of Bocce Ball will return daily with the highly anticipated Bocce Ball Tournament taking place on Sunday, July 23.  Take in Festa from the water’s view on a gondola ride and don’t miss the loudest Italian-style Bartolotta fireworks every night beginning at approximately 10:30 p.m.!  The Copa Festa Italiana Futsal tournament will return on Saturday from noon – 7 p.m. at the sports court and Italian Idol will crown its karaoke king or queen on Sunday, July 23!

Your Ticket to Italian Tradition

The traditional Festa Italiana Sunday Mass and Procession will be led by Bishop Jeffrey R. Haines at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, July 23 at the American Family Insurance Amphittheater. The Mass is followed by a procession of societies and patron saints, concluded with benediction on the festival grounds.  Attendees are encouraged to bring three (3) non-perishable food items to be donated to Hunger Task Force to help the Milwaukee Ethnic Festivals reach their goal of collecting 160,000 pounds of food this summer under “The Fests Feed Milwaukee” initiative.

Daily Admission Information/Deals

Festa Italiana offers plenty of ways to visit the festival!   Purchase your advance tickets online today at www.festaitaliana.com through July 20 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.
  • Sendik’s Red Bag Promotion: All patrons arriving on Friday between 3:00 and 6:30 P.M. presenting a Sendik’s red shopping bag will receive one (1) FREE admission ticket! Stop by the main gate and enter the designated Sendik’s area with your red bag.  Red bags will be collected upon entrance into the grounds.  Find your neighborhood Sendik’s location at sendiks.com.
  • Receive a Catholic Financial Life knapsack beginning at 4:00 P.M. while supplies last.


  • Gates open 11:30 a.m. – Midnight.
  • Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation Walk/Run – 7:30 A.M.  Walkers and runners receive free entry into Festa Italiana.  Guest passes are also available for $5 from 7:30 A.M. – 11 A.M.
  • Sendik’s Red Bag Promotion Noon – 5 P.M.  All patrons arriving from Noon – 5 P.M. presenting a Sendik’s red shopping bag will receive one (1) FREE admission ticket.  Red bags will be collected upon enterance to the grounds at the main gate.
  • VIP DAY – 11:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. VIP Day for those with physical challenges along with their caregivers receive free admission and half-price on two selected food items. Courtesy of Festa Italiana.  Special VIP ticket needed. Please pick up your ticket at the Italian Community Center.
  • Receive a Catholic Financial Life knapsack beginning at 2 P.M. while supplies last.


  • Gates open 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • 10:15 a.m. – Gates open for Festa Italiana Mass on the south end, please bring non-perishable food items to support Hunger Task Force
  • 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. 

Don’t miss Festa Italiana’s 50/50 Raffle! Costs for tickets are 1 for $5 or 3 for $10. Purchase on the Festa grounds or in advance at the Italian Community Center.

For more information on the festival, please visit www.FestaItaliana.com

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Festa tradition! Purchase your advance ticket today for $10, now through July 20, at http://www.festaitaliana.com.  For ticket questions, please call 414-223-2808.

About Festa Italiana Presented by Calypso Lemonades

The 40th annual Festa Italiana takes place at Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds) on Milwaukee’s lakefront Friday, July 21, to Sunday, July 23. Festa Italiana is the largest Italian event of its kind in America today. The Festival began forty 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 ethic 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.

Advance tickets for Festa Italiana are on sale now online.  Purchase your advance online ticket for $10 through July 20 at http://www.festaitaliana.com.  For ticket questions, please call 414-223-2808.

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