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The Feast of Little Italy returns to Abacoa

The Feast of Little Italy 2017 located in Downtown Abacoa provides a fun, authentic Italian atmosphere for people of all ages. Photo by Kate Novak

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The annual Feast of Little Italy is a three-day celebration of authentic food, music and art of the Italian culture held in Downtown Abacoa in Jupiter. This year the event fell on Nov. 3-5.

The Feast of Little Italy has been an Abacoa tradition for over a decade. Festival president Jerry Somma dedicates the Feast of Little Italy to ancestors who faced hardships migrating to the United States.

“I started with a vision to create an experience rich in Italian culture,” said Somma on the Feast of Little Italy webpage.

Junior Alexandra Martinez is a Jupiter High student who has attended the festival for three years.

“It’s definitely a tradition for me. There’s really good food and [my friends and I] dance in front of the stage and try to go on all the rides,” said Martinez.

Martinez feels the Feast of Little Italy is a staple of living in Abacoa and a way to connect with friends and family in a joyous atmosphere each time she goes.

Live musicians threw Italian-themed prizes into the crowd during performances at the festival, promoting its different sponsors. Last year Martinez caught an apron from Galbani Cheese, a keepsake she still hangs with a collage of sentiments on her bedroom wall, symbolizing the festival’s emotional impacts.

The Feast of Little Italy is a major source of tourism to the Abacoa area. The event attracts young families and senior citizens alike. Each year the event’s goal is to raise money for the charity Little Smiles, which “provides gifts and fun activities to children impacted by serious illness, homelessness or tragedy,” according to the Little Smiles webpage.

During the 2015-2016 school year, AICE Travel and Tourism teacher Rebecca Senecal and her students helped run a booth for Little Smiles at the festival. Senecal knows a board member for the Little Smiles charity and thought it would be a great cause for students to get involved with.

“It builds caring about other people and life experiences. If someone can ever raise awareness for sick children I think they should participate in that,” said Senecal.

Senecal believes the Feast of Little Italy is a great event to continue the pride of the Italian culture.

“It is good to remember your heritage! Also, the food there is awesome,” said Senecal.

More information can be found on the Feast of Little Italy’s webpage, including a countdown to next year’s festival to keep Italian Fest fans excited all year round.

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The Feast of Little Italy returns to Abacoa