Italian Fest Saturday

MARQUETTE – All ages will find something fun to do – and something delicious to eat – at the 114th annual Italian Fest at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming Saturday.

“It’s a family event for people of all ages,” said Jim Bertucci, whose title is “chairman of the feast” for The St. Rocco-St. Anthony Society of Ishpeming, which has been putting on the event all these years. There is no admission charge for the day-long festival which is open to the public.

“It was started in 1899 by The St. Rocco Society and in 1937, The St. Anthony Society joined in,” Bertucci said. “There are lots of activities for children, like sack races and the sawdust pile, which will have over $300 in it. And for older kids, we have a large slide and an inflatable obstacle course.”

Other activities will include a greased pole competition, bingo, free pony rides and games of chance.

Music will be a big part of the day, with Ray and Dan Adamini playing from noon to 1:30 p.m.; Soundz of Time from 2 to 4 p.m.; the Ishpeming Blue Notes at 4 p.m.; and Diamanti from 5 to 7 p.m.

“The food is out of this world,” Bertucci said. “There’s penne pasta, meatballs, garlic bread and salads. It’s always a big hit. I recommend getting there early because when it runs out, it’s gone.”

Ralph’s Italian Deli will have a cudighi booth and other vendors will have a variety of other food for purchase.

“At the end of the day, if you’ve never seen the LaMora Tournament, it’s fun to watch,” Bertucci said. “All of our members play to see who will win. It’s very intense at times.”

Bertucci wanted to make special mention of one person from the organization.

“I want to thank Nick Joseph, who was our president for 45 years,” Bertucci said. “Nick went through some tough times, when membership was low, and he brought things back to where it’s back up over 100 members again.”

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.