Published in the July 16, 2019 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — With Festival Italia just over a month away, the elements of 10th annual summer celebration are falling into place. Festival Italia is scheduled to take place on Aug. 24 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Rain date Aug. 31.)
The event is billed as “a celebration of Wakefield’s Italian culture and tradition.” Main and Albion streets in the downtown will be transformed into a street festival offering a wide range of activities for locals and visitors. A number of booths will be dedicated to festival foods, many sponsored by local restaurants.
John Ross, vice president of the Wakefield Community Partnership (WCP), appeared before the Town Council last night to secure the final needed town approvals for the festival. WCP is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that runs townwide events like Festival Italia and the Holiday Stroll.
Ross was seeking a 10-day liquor license for the event that would allow time to purchase alcohol for the “La Piazza” beer and wine garden, store it until the event and then return any leftovers after the event.
The Town Council voted to approve the 10-day liquor license.
The other approval that Ross was seeking last night involved hanging a banner across Main Street starting Aug. 9 to promote the event. The Town Council approved the request to display the banner across Main Street near the Americal Civic center.
At its June 24 meeting, the Town Council approved the Aug. 24 date for Festival Italia, (rain date Aug 31) as well as WCP’s requested downtown street closures for the downtown event.
These streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from noon to 8 p.m.
Main Street will be closed from Yale Avenue south to Richardson Avenue. The northbound side of Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from Water Street to Yale Avenue. Portions of Centre and Princess streets will also be closed to vehicles.
Albion Street will be closed from Main Street to North Avenue and Avon and Chestnut Streets will have limited access from Main Street.
The Town Council also approved the WCP’s request to use the Lincoln Street parking lot as a staging area before the event, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The WCP has also requested that town put up temporary “No Parking” signs on the Thursday prior to the event to alert the public of the parking restrictions on Saturday.
Participating restaurants will also be allowed to extend their businesses into the event area.
Ross explained that this year’s event will be largely the same as in the previous nine, with a few minor changes. The fenced-in “La Piazza” beer and wine garden will be in front of the library this year. Ross said that idea was to attract more activity to that end of Main Street. He said that the La Piazza raises a lot of the money that makes WCP’s events possible.
There will be dance competitions toward the Farmland end of Main Street, Ross said. The Boys & Girls Club will once again offer children’s activities on a portion of Albion Street.
The Wakefield Community Partnership (WCP) was created to continue, develop, and implement activities and events that promote and encourage renewed community spirit. It is comprised of a group of volunteers who seek to continue building a bridge between the residents and their community through collaborative efforts and enhancing community engagement. The Partnership fosters activities that celebrate the vibrancy and diversity that exists in Wakefield. The WCP is a recognized 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.