By LINDA LOBECK
IRON MOUNTAIN - Paying tribute to the strong Italian heritage that still remains in Iron Mountain, the seventh annual Italian Fest will return to the area on Saturday, Aug. 17, sponsored by the Iron Mountain Main Street program.
One of the competitions back for the seventh annual Italian Fest on Saturday, Aug. 17, is the Grape Stomp. Shown here during last year’s event are Michele Ringel, left, and Monica Dropka, competing as they stomp grapes with master of ceremonies Tom Gursky in back. Italian Fest will be held from noon to 11 p.m. in the city parking lot located at the intersection of East A and Iron Mountain streets.
The festival is held from noon to 11 p.m. in the parking lot located at the intersection of East A and Iron Mountain streets. Food, drinks, musical entertainment and other activities are being lined up for the day with Tom Gursky serving again as the master of ceremonies.
The cost to attend Italian Fest is $5, with the proceeds going to support efforts to improve the community, noted Jonathan Ringel, manager of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA)/Main Street program.
In addition, people participating in the Tour de Dickinson bike ride on Aug. 17 and children, ages 12 and under, will be admitted free of charge to Italian Fest.
Food vendors have been lined up to participate in the event and include Alley Dog Hotdogs, Antonio's Pizza, Crispigna's, Hillcrest Catering and Northside Noodle. The event also includes wine, beer and other local and Italian beverages, which are available all day under the beer tent.
"Due to the success in 2012, we will once again be accepting credit cards at Italian Fest," noted volunteer Jinx Brew.
Other activities include a bocce ball court, as well as an Italian Market, which will have Italian merchandise for purchase. "People can learn how to play bocce and for the more experienced players, they can compete," Ringel noted.
Children's inflatable bounce houses and games are also a part of the day from noon to 8 p.m. and are provided by Abracadabra and the Abundant Life Church.
A full schedule of entertainment is lined up starting with an opening ceremony at noon with Ralph Izzo singing "God Bless America" in both English and Italian. The Bill Hassey Orchestra will be providing entertainment from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The Italian Fest King and Queen crowning will be held at 1:15 p.m. followed by the Pizza Dough Tossing competition at 2:45 p.m.
At 3:15 p.m., Anastasia Lee and Tom Gursky will be performing and the Italian Idol contest starts at 3:45 p.m. Jan and Gino are scheduled at both 4:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
The Grape Stomp competition will be at 5:45 p.m. and the U.P. Dance Academy will be entertaining the crowds at 7:30 p.m. The Cadillacs round out the day's entertainment from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"These great local musicians and events help to make our event more authentic and we are looking forward to another great community event. Thank you everyone for supporting this wonderful heritage festival, noted Paula Santoni, Italian Fest volunteer.
Applications for the Italian Idol, Pizza Dough Tossing and Grape Stomp competitions are available at the Iron Mountain website starting Monday, July 22. The applicants must be returned to the city hall offices at 501 S. Stephenson Ave. in Iron Mountain by Aug. 15 at 4 p.m.
The seventh annual Italian Fest has received support from sponsors to keep the community event going strong, Ringel said.
Sponsors for this year's event include the First National Bank & Trust Co., River Valley Bank, Bacco Construction, MJ Electric, Dickinson County Healthcare System, Iron Mountain-Kingsford Community Federal Credit Union, CCI Systems, Dickinson Area Tourism Association (TADCA), Champion Inc., Northern Star Industries, Coca-Cola, Culligan Water Conditioning, Wisconsin Energy Foundation, Classic Auto Collision, Occhietti & Selden Dental, Super One Foods, Standard Printing, the Miller Agency, Slumberland Furniture, and Ameriprise Financial - Mark J. Mogan.
With such a large event being planned, Ringel said that they are seeking more volunteers to help out at Italian Fest as well as for a number of projects with the Iron Mountain DDA/Main Street program.
"We usually have a nice turnout for our events, but the DDA/Main Street is actively seeking volunteers to assist with the organization," he said.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can contact him at 774-8534 or go to the website at ironmountaindowntown.com.
Linda Lobeck's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.