Saturday, September 29, 2012

Italian-American Festival days

This region has so many ethnic groups that the big county park is one mad rush of festivals in the summer and early Fall, the Irish and Indian American and 4H, and fundraising regattas on the lake, and the greatest of these, probably the oldest established, is the four day Italian American festival, to which Handsome Son and I went this afternoon.   If I'd gone on Friday I'd have got in free as a senior.  If I'd worn my military uniform, I'd have got in free any day, unfortunately my Civil War duds were in storage..seriously, I like very much saying thankyou to the military in concrete terms like this.

One good thing about being old and grey and cheerful is the great attitude of young Ital.American men, stewards for the event, all treating me like a newfound grandma, it's lovely.  And what with the petting zoo,

perfect for tiny little kids, ducklings, a couple of rabbits, sheep, baby goats, young bullock, very peaceful Ferdinand type, little pony, little donkey, across from a large and loud midway

full of rides to look at them is enough, thanks, and great music booming over all, Italian tenors predominating, and as far as the eye could see, food.

All the restaurants of Trenton, it seemed, and this is a great location for this food, were out in force,

serving practically their entire menu, which we happily wandered about sampling, our choices, after long and serious consideration: vodka rigatoni, meatball sandwich with homemade meatballs and sauce, funnel cake with butterscotch dip, homemade cheesecake with cherry sauce (this came home with us eventually, and was devoured with a cup of tea).

In the indoor arena, usually the skating rink, were all kinds of art ranging from painting and on the spot sketching, to immense marble carving,

just what you want for your entrance hall, business cards available in case you wanted to order,  to tiles, to jewelry of all kinds, including some guaranteed to ward off the evil eye,  church sized statues galore, and I amazed HS by telling him who every single one was, Catholic girlhood coming back in a rush, and a great panorama of Italian American history, with newspaper clippings and posters up to a hundred years old, local and national Italian sons,  Antonin Scalia getting a prominent mention, he being a very local boy.  Well, what with all that, it was you might say a full afternoon.

And there was an organ grinder!

in authentic costume, with an authentic instrument.  I was so happy to see, while they waited their turn to perform, that the act before them was a young woman with a puppet, who with a very simple friendly act, had bleachers full of little kids totally rapt!   who said kids only like electronics, huh?  And this was a great place to take babies and strollers and wagonsful of kids.  Parents could eat good food and not worry about mess or noise or any of the stress that goes with trying to take little kids out for more than half an hour.  Vivid memories of how that went.
Click on pix to see better.
It's all go around here!  next week I'm off to an embroidery exhibit in Pennsylvania, but I think that will be a much quieter event than today.


  1. I would have loved the petting zoo - far more than the rides! The only problem is that kids kinda look at you funny when you're climbing in the pen to play with the animals trying to disguise your height and obviously advanced age. Why can't they have petting zoos for adults anyway? Why should kids have all the fun?

  2. Here, here, I agree with Magpie! What a wonderful treat for you to attend and for us to see - thanks for sharing. I remember an organ grinder who used to stand on the sidewalks of Montreal when I was a little kid. He was a war vet (WW 1), used to grind and had a real monkey who wore an outfit and hat. The grinder would lift his other arm, showing it was missing from the elbow down, always horrified me, and the monkey would remove his hat and hold it out for donations. My mother would pull me away from the creature, afraid I'd be bitten, then scold me for staring at the poor fellow with the amputation. He was always dressed in rags, but a chauffeured car would pick them up at the end of the day. No doubt he wouldn't have made as much out of the organ grinding without his little companion. - Jean in Cowtown

  3. The marble carving had me gobsmacked. Liked the organ grinder and his missus.

  4. Sounds like a fun day was had by all. I just love Italian food and what you had sounds delicious. Time for a big sleep afterwards no doubt.

  5. Looks like you had a fantastic day. Vodka rigatoni, interesting. I love it when you get all the restaurants together and you can sample


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