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      Ottawa celebrates Italian Week

       
      By
      Jun. 11, 2017

      Ottawa Italian WeekNow in its 43rd year, the Ottawa Italian Week Festival is officially underway in Canada’s capital. With festivities mostly centered around Ottawa’s Little Italy on Preston Street, there are activities and entertainment for all ages and tastes.

      Tony Mariani has attended every edition of Italian Week since its early beginnings. A first-generation Italian from Abruzzo, Mariani was raised on Preston Street and would go on become an active leader in the local Italian community. In 2015 he was elected Italian Week president.

      “Our festival’s mandate is to provide the Italian experience to our community and to share our heritage and culture with the rest of our society,” Mariani explains.

      Now retired and an empty-nester, Mariani admits that the free timetime is necessary for the job.

      “It’s almost a full time job,” Mariani muses.

      “I want to mention our Italian Week committee, if I may. They work so hard. There is no one person who does this,” he adds.

      The opening weekend (June 10 and June 11) includes the annual St. Anthony’s Feast Weekend at St. Anthony’s Church (427 Booth Street). Activities include an outdoor mass and procession, and entertainment and food for all ages.

      Ottawa Italian WeekMontreal comedian Guido Cocomello will make Ottawa home for a week, as he headlines nightly performances at Absolute Comedy (412 Preston Street). His shows run from June 12 to 18, inclusively, at 8:30PM.

      Parolissima
      , an exhibit that features the works of the winners of a children’s art contest, is on display at the Italian Canadian Historical Centre at Villa Marconi (1026 Baseline Road) from June 16 to June 18. The contest theme was “Un ricordo nella vita dei nonni – Souvenirs of my grandparents” and was open to children under the age of 13.

      The Grand Finale Weekend takes place in Little Italy on the final three days of the festival. Activities include a display of Ferrari and Vintage Italian cars, activities for the children, loads of Italian food, and free performances by Comedian Joe Cacchione, Enrico Capuano & T-Rock, DJ Momentum, Michael Castaldo, and Marco Calliari.

      According to city officials, approximately 180,000 people take part in the festival on a yearly basis. The festival is the second largest cultural festival in Ottawa.

      “This year’s theme is ‘Italian upon Italian upon Italian,’” Mariani comments.

      Ottawa’s Italian Week Festival runs until Sunday, June 18. For full program details, please visit www.italianweekottawa.ca.

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