This past weekend Tallahassee saw it’s first (annual? only the future will tell) Italian Family Festa out at the John Paul II Catholic High School. I found out about the Festa through Groupon, which turns out to be a fabulous resource for learning about local businesses and events, not just saving money at them.
With the Greek Food Festival an annual event that we dearly love, we hoped the Italian Family Festa would come close to that ideal.
As a first-year festival there were some expected hiccups. The website, for instance, was a little sparse on details (it would have been nice to know what sorts of foods would be there, not just a list of Italian foods that might be there, and a price-list is always helpful for folks who don’t carry cash as a habit) and, once we arrived it took being sent to 3 different tables/locations just to find out where to sign up for the wine tasting.
Those bumps aside, we had a good time. The wine tasting (at $10 a person) was more a class than just a taste-for-all, featuring 6 Italian wines and a very good presenter–he had personality to spare and plenty of ways to make wine relatable, always a good pairing. It was held in the school’s gymnasium, though, and was not the only activity going on in the space, making a little hard to hear.
Various entertainment was scheduled throughout the weekend and we had fun listening to the singer perform pop hits. Funny, we didn’t know songs like Firework and Seasons of Love were inherently Italian 😉
But, wait, what about the food?
There was a stand selling meatball subs and sausages–we each chose the latter with peppers and onions. Lots of fennel and very tasty. There was a local New York-style pizza place with a stand and, finally, a stand selling Fried Doughnuts (zeppole? though I’m not sure how authentic they were), calamari (they were out by the time we tried to order some), mozzarella sticks (pass), funnel cakes and steamed mussels. There were also cannoli available at a table, inside. The cannoli were the best things we ate, that day, and gone so quickly that I failed to snap a photo!
Ices and a variety of coffee and tea were available from booths as well as bottled water, beer and wine (the latter required the purchase of tickets). Even after the wines we’d taste in the seminar, earlier, we each got a glass of Prosecco to eat with our zeppole before calling it a day.
Thankfully the Groupon offer meant I paid slightly less for weekend passes what it would have cost us just to enter the one day ($5 per person entrance fee). We opted not to return on Sunday.
I hope that they do try again, next year, and are able to add to the cultural options in our little southern town.