Once again, The Drive comes alive in green, white and red as Italian Day returns for its 10th edition, this year celebrating Comunità - community. The event celebrates Italian culture and heritage with over 130 street participants, comprised of partners, merchants, vendors and community organizations – and an estimated 300,000+ attendees of all ages and cultures.
This year’s theme, Comunità, holds great significance because Italian Day is taking an initiative to address the issue of at-risk youth by helping to raise awareness and funds for youth mentoring programs. The Italian Day Festival Society’s goal is to raise ten thousand dollars via partners and community business contributions in support of The East End Boys and Girls Club - run out of Templeton Secondary and operating on charitable donations. The total funds raised will be announced and presented to program leaders - Jimmy Crescenzo and Tanya Zambrano at the Opening Ceremony of Italian Day. Besides providing vital assistance to these programs, this initiative underscores a message behind this year’s theme; there is power behind community, through giving back, and by working together, success can be achieved and celebrated.
Italian Heritage Month
June is Italian Heritage Month, this year celebrating its official city observance designation, which features Italian Day on The Drive. Italian Heritage Month involves a month long series of events showcasing the rich culture of Italy in the realms of food, music, film, language and other cultural initiatives and celebrations, presented by various partners, including Il Centro Italian Cultural Center, where most of the events will be held, the Italian Day Festival Society, and the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver.
This year, Italian Day and Italian Heritage Month welcome the much-anticipated Little Italy crosswalks. Positioned at 3 intersections along Commercial Drive and marking the official 8 block radius of the Little Italy heritage district; facilitated by funding support from Fortis BC.
Notte Italiana – Musical trio from Italy slated to perform at Italian Day
This year, the Italian Day Festival Society is proud to present special guests - Notte Italiana - a young musical trio from Italy. The trio features David Pacini (lead singer), Francesco Milani (guitarist), and Simone Beato (bassist).
Marco Boni – 15-year-old Italian Singer
Marco is best known for having represented Italy at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2018. He will be performing at Italian Day on The Drive as a special guest on all 3 stages, including a duet with Italian singer Danilo Ciaccia.
Danilo Ciaccia – Songwriter, musician, and performer
Originally from Celano, Abruzzo, Italy, Danilo Ciaccia is an experienced performer who is familiar with the stage, including many performances on television programs in Italy. Danilo will be performing a duet at this year’s Italian Day with Marco Boni.
Authentic Italian Table Piazza
Presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, the ‘Authentic Italian Table’ - an entire intersection dedicated to food and wine samplings, returns in piazza style highlighting authentic Italian products and premium Italian wines and beverages for a ‘true Italian taste’. Tickets can be purchased on site at the festival.
It wouldn’t be an Italian cultural celebration if there weren’t a prominent focus on food and beverages. Delicious Italian street food — including fried pasta, wood-oven panini, meatballs, arancini, pizza, panzerotti, fried Italian donuts, cannoli, gelato, coffee, afogato, granita and more — will have you in the streets of Roma, Venezia and Firenze as you make your way down The Drive.
Other attractions, highlights and activities
Translating to “fashion square” the Piazza Moda is an exclusive look at another aspect Italy is known for – fashion. Festivalgoers and fashion lovers can look forward to three separate fashion shows throughout the day with live entertainment in between sets. This year, Atelier GRANDI, a Vancouver-based luxury womenswear collection designed by Grandy Chu, will be walking the runway. GRANDI designs are known for their striking artistic detail, purposeful design attitude, and timeless elegant silhouettes. Supporting GRANDI designs is long-time Italian Day on The Drive merchant, Kalena Shoes & Accessories, who will be providing shoes that are Made in Italy for all of the models walking in the show.
Raffle – Italian Day takes you to Italy
Italian Day will be giving away TWO trips to Italy courtesy of Air Canada. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the event by the 2nd Avenue stage, and at Da Vinci International Travel (store front location) on Commercial Drive.
Sing, dance and enjoy live Italian music at 2nd Ave, Grandview Park, and Piazza Moda main stages throughout the day. As well, at the North and South end of Commercial Drive, DJ’s will be stationed to entertain crowds. Jack 96.9 FM will also be onsite providing their own unique spin and mix of music.
Visitors will also enjoy local Italian-Canadian music performances on the 2nd Avenue and Grandview Park Stages, including those from the crowd-favourite restauranteur and showman, Federico Fuoco, along with international performing artist Carmelina Cupo.
It’s set to be a day filled with family fun with attractions such as the RE/MAX children’s zone in Grandview Park, food eating contests, and interactive sporting activities with the Whitecaps and Canucks.
Event: Italian Day on The Drive
Location: Commercial Drive (Venables St. to Grandview Cut)
Date: Sunday, June 9, 2019
Time: 12:00pm – 8:00pm (opening ceremony at noon @ 2nd Ave)
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