DENNIS CALDIROLA has produced The Italian Festival, part of our Seattle Center Festál series, for the past 25 years. Here, he speaks about the roots of the festival, and how it has grown.
“It’s turned into a job, a lifestyle, an identity. In the beginning, it was just that– a job. I’ve always loved entertainment, show business, big crowds. That’s my background. I wasn’t born in Italy, but I was conceived in Italy by immigrants. So I was born in America, in Montana.
Initially, we were comprised of immigrants who were newer to the country. It was really a party for us, back in say 1988. It was a chance for us all to get together and eat our food and drink our wine and talk in Italian and sing songs that were famous in Italy 50 and a hundred years ago. I think all ethnic festivals start out like that. Now, we know we’re going to get our people, and so we want to attract the rest of the world. We want everybody in Seattle to come because we want everyone to know what a cool place Italy is.”
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