ICC dishes up A Taste of Italy
Festa Italiana is the city's major Italian festival and it takes place each July on the Summerfest grounds.
But each April, half a block west of the Henry Maier Festival Grounds, at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago St., A Taste of Italy draws Milwaukee in to check out the ICC and sample tasty Italian-American treats.
This year's 16th anniversary event takes place Sunday, April 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Admission and parking are free. You buy tickets -- $1.50 each or seven for $10 -- and use them to sample variety of Italian entrées, appetizers, desserts and beverages.
Among the returning favorites are pizza, Italian sausage sandwiches, deep fried arancini (meat-filled rice balls), pasta, calamari, polenta, gelato, pizzelle cookies and more.
The Tradizione Vivente Italian dance troupe, singer Charles Evans and the strolling Sicilian Serenaders II are all donating their time and talents to perform throughout the event.
The annual event is a fundraiser for the non-profit Italian Community Center, which works to promote Italian-American culture and history in Milwaukee, via Festa Italiana, Italian language classes for children, bocce leagues, an historical photo collection and more.
"Funds raised at our 'Taste of Italy' event help to support these educational and cultural programs that the Italian Community Center sponsors during the year," says ICC President Dave Spano.
"An event like this also allows us to get the general public acquainted with our building, to see the vintage immigrant photos and paintings and to get to know what the ICC is doing in our community."
A Taste of Italy is organized and run by ICC volunteers, who pour their passion and hard work into the event.
"This event would not be possible without the support of the local Italian societies and organizations, generous food purveyors, the volunteers of the ICC and various organizations and the cooperation of the Italian Conference Center staff," says Ann Romano, who chairs the event.
The ICC will swing its doors wide open for A Taste of Italy. Entrée items, appetizers and beverages will be available in the Pompeii Grand Ballroom. Desserts and beverages will be served in the Festa Ballroom.
Seating will be available throughout the building and, if Mother Nature allows it, you can sit around the fountain in the courtyard, too,
An no Italian-American event would be complete without a raffle. Buy tickets for $2 (or seven for $10) to get a shot at winning a 40-inch Toshiba LCD HDTV, an iPad, a Swarovski crystal silver bracelet, a 22-inch LCD TV, a $100 Bartolotta Restaurant Group certificate, a girl's bike, a boy's bike and Italian wines and extra virgin olive oil.
Buon appetito, Milwaukee.
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