A celebration of food, music and heritage returns with the 39th Columbus Italian Festival, to be held Friday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 7, at St. John the Baptist Italian Catholic Church, 720 Hamlet St. in Columbus.
Landa Brunetto, marketing and communications director for the festival, said both contemporary and traditional Italian music will fill the air through the event.
Sal "the Voice" Valentinetti, a semifinalist on "America's Got Talent" during the television show's 2016 season, will join the Rick Brunetto Big Band for two shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Oct. 5.
Valentinetti reportedly was influenced by American crooners Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, and is a big fan of "Great American Songbook" material, said Brunetto, wife of Rick Brunetto, leader of the Rick Brunetto Big Band.>> View a larger PDF of the Columbus Italian Festival map <<
Vocalist and entertainer Michael Castaldo will join the Rick Brunetto Big Band from 9 to 11 p.m. Castaldo will sing and tell stories during his performance, Landa Brunetto said.
Free parking and shuttles are available from Columbus State Community College. Admission to the festival is $5 and free for children 12 years old and younger.
Food is a major aspect of the festival.
An array of sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, homemade pizzas, Italian beef sandwiches, pastas, cannoli and Italian-style fair food will be available, Brunetto said.
Cooking and language classes and travel tips will be presented throughout the weekend.
The Columbus Day Parade is scheduled to step off at 1 p.m. Oct. 7 at Goodale Park. It will travel along Buttles Avenue, High Street, Warren Street and back to the church.
The grand marshal is Linda Shetina Logan, founder and executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.
Seven high school marching bands are participating in the parade, which will be paused while each presents a 5-minute performance.
One band will receive a "best-in-show" trophy.
"It's so fun," Brunetto said. "Those high school kids, you just want to hug them."
Cultural events, exhibitions and entertainment for children also are scheduled.
"It's a festival for your eyes, for your tummy and for your feet," Brunetto said. "There's so much to do. And it's gorgeous this year. We have so many decorations."
Adam Montemarano, executive director of the festival, said he has watched it grow from a basic street festival into a regional draw.
"This promises to be the best Columbus Italian Festival ever," Montemarano said.
For more information, call 614-294-8259 or go to www.columbusitalianfestival.com.