Published in the August 24, 2015 edition
By BOB BURGESS
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield, one out-of-town couple said not long ago, certainly knows how to do it right.
This weekend’s Festival Italia proved that, as the community again came together to enjoy a street party, thanks to the Event Planning Committee, a large group of corporate donors, a slew of volunteers, dozens of vendors and entertainers and thousands of people in the mood for some summertime fun.
According to Paul DiNocco, the selectman in charge of the planning committee, “People came, they ate, they danced and they had a great time.” And that was just the Friday night dinner buffet at Four Points by Sheraton hotel, which DiNocco estimated between 140 and 150 people attended. They feasted on a wide selection of delicacies prepared by a variety of restaurants in the area, including: Blue Moon Grill, CnD’s, D’Amici’s, Four Points by Sheraton, Harrington’s Food & Spirits, Harrows, Italian Kitchen, Kings of Lynnfield, Laurie’s 909, Massimo’s Ristorante, Mola Bakery & Café, Polcari’s and the Pizza Goddess.
On Saturday around 2:30 p.m., Main and Albion streets began to fill with crowds ready to enjoy the community-feel of the Festival Italia. La Piazza, the beer and wine garden set up in front of The Savings Bank, was a popular attraction that allowed people to enjoy a liquid refreshment with a plate of food while listening to the great music coming from the Pompeii stage on Main Street at the Avon Street intersection.
The entertainers and, in particular the musicians, were fantastic and seemed to draw quite a few people who could have kept walking but stuck around to watch and listen. The Wakefield Memorial High School a capella group was singled out by DiNocco as one of the event’s best but that does not slight any of the other acts, which included: Colosseum Stage on Albion Street: Karen K and the Jitterbugs, Jazzabelles and The Morlocks Now at the Colosseum Stage on Albion Street; Natalie Joly, Betty’s Bounce and the North Ave. Band at the Pompeii venue and Joe Dias and Southern City at the Forum Stage set up at Lincoln and Main streets.
Boris and the Italian Serenaders were roaming acts and Catch the Funk, Dance Studio of Wakefield, Miss Krystn’s Dance Studio and the WMHS Cheerleaders also performed.
By about 5:30 or 6 p.m. Saturday, DiNocco said “you couldn’t really move on Albion Street or Main Street. I’d say the high point of the festival was between 5 and 7:30. The streets were packed and La Piazza was at that time too. You’d see people finishing up and leaving and seats would be immediately filled. It was a great time. We had a ton of vendors, there were no reports of rowdiness and everyone enjoyed the family atmosphere.”
It certainly helped that the rain forecasted to fall at any time during this year’s festival never came, replaced instead by sunshine for a good part of the late afternoon.
The 2015 Festival Italia was, by any estimation, another successful venture put on by the town’s hardworking Event Planning Committee.