The Italian American Society of Peoria will hold its 84th annual Italian Summer Festa from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at Hickory Grove Park in North Peoria. (Hickory Grove Road off Knoxville Ave, follow signs).

The Summer Festa Picnic is a long-standing family event held by the society every year since its founding in 1929 as a time for Italian families to get together for fellowship and support, and has since developed into a non-profit, fun, family-centered community event, bringing a small piece of Italy and its traditions to central Illinois.

The Festa is the major fundraiser for three scholarship programs.  So far, the society has given more than $75,000 to college students. 

Once again, we are honored to have our authentic Italian recipes prepared by Barrack’s Cater Inn. New this year will be lasagne and cannoli. The menu will include spaghetti meals with salads, also meatball and sausage sandwiches, Italian beef, and Italian desserts including Italian Ice and pizzelles.  Drinks include Italian and domestic beers, wine, soda, juice, and water. The adult spaghetti meals are only $7 again this year.

Live traditional and contemporary music will be provided all afternoon by The Vince Chiarelli Combo, which is well known in Rockford and tours around the region. The Regalia Gift Shop will have all kinds of Italian T-shirts, hats, pins, and society cookbooks.

There will be Bocce tournaments for adults and children, with prizes awarded.

This year there will be an arts and craft village, and a car show featuring a Fiat 500.

Other events and attractions will include scholarship awards, a silent auction, an inflatable attraction, face painting, balloon maker and spagetti eating contest. Kids Corner is open from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

Admission is $3 at the gate. Children under 12 are free and so is parking.

Contact Dave at 383-4684 for special discounts for youth groups of 15 or more.

More information can be found on the society's website: