Festa Italiana

“How you doon?”

If you’ve seen a gangster movie, you’ve heard that phrase.

When I think of Italian culture of think of that phrase. I think of gangster movies, , I think of delicious pasta dishes, wine, bread, and close knit families. Certainly, there is more to the Italian culture than this. But, alas, I am a white, Dutch American married to a white Norwegian gal. Italian Culture is not something I have been overly exposed to outside of films and Italian eateries.

But, on the weekend of August24-26th this year, I hope to gain a broader understanding… and an overindulgence of Italian faire at the 26th annual Festa Italiana.

Located in Portland’s Living Room, Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Festa Italiana is a free event designed to celebrate and educate about Italian culture, especially Italian culture here in Portland, Oregon.  Intended for all ages, the Festa Italiana is one of my favorite events in downtown Portland all year. Last year, I ended the event five pounds heavier… and it was well worth it. Italian food is my favorite.

The kids love it, my daughter especially. Her favorite event of the weekend is the Olde World Puppet Theatre.  These marionettes delight children (and, yes, adults) with their classic take on the classic fairy tale “the Enchanted Ring- A Princess Adventure.” Since my daughter (rightfully so) thinks of herself as a princess, this event delights her to no end. And, I’m not gonna lie, I get something out of it too. My son just watches, knowing that food follows. He takes after his father.

And, of course, my wife likes the dancing. Any excuse to dance, she will take it. And, she’s good at it. I dance with her, but mostly so I can enjoy the looks of admiration she gets. Italians love their music and dancing (and it’s a great way to burn off those calories from the delicious, carb-heavy Italian foods) and this year, with everything from traditional Italian bands, to big bands, to good old fashioned rock n roll, there will be dancing aplenty.

But, all this is just a backdrop for eating copious amounts of Italian foods and drinking fabulous Olde World wines. Walking through Pioneer Courthouse Square, the aroma of the food wafting through the Festival is enough o make you go insane with culinary desire. Take Italian Food. Multiply it by it being your favorite and add to that the fact that’s created by Italians in the Olde World fashion and what you get is a Mind Blown Foodie. Yes. The food, the wine, the music, the dancing, the costumes: It all serves to provide a greater understanding of Italian Culture and the culture that lies within and around Portland, Oregon.

Really, you can’t beat the price or the atmosphere. Festa Italiana is a must for your calendar, and I’ll see you there. You’ll find me next to the biggest slice of pizza pie you can imagine. Or, at least the most delicious.

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