Festival! Celebrating the Italian legacy

THE CORNISH MINERS’ INFLUENCE ON GOLD Country is well known. But Italian immigrants, with names such as Ghidotti, Pardini and Tassone, also were active in settling the region.

Italian gold miners left their legacy at historic places, such as the Italian Mine. Italians skilled in stone masonry, from the rugged Liguria region, helped build mountain roads winding up to Yosemite.

Others, such as the Galianos, started some of the oldest ranches of the Mother Lode. The foothills are still dotted with Italian family ranches.

The immigrants brought culinary traditions to the region, such as stone ovens for wood-fired pizza, homestyle Sunday dinners, winemaking and olive-oil production.

This year the 3rd annual Italian Festa will be held in Penn Valley on Sept. 15-16 to celebrate the Italian heritage in Gold Country.

Italian Festa at Western Gateway Park has been growing each year, drawing many thousands of visitors. The festival will feature Italian food and crafts, wine tasting, live music and dancing, and a Bocce tournament.

Restauranteurs will serve Italian sausage, pizzas, calzone, gelato and other fare. A wood-fired pizza oven is planned. Local Italian-style wines, from Montoliva and others, will be poured, along with imported varietals.

Festival goers will be entertained by the Don Giovannis, a band with an Italian-themed repertoire; aria singers, a Dean Martin look-alike and a Sinatra-style crooner. An accordion player will stroll the grounds.

A heritage tent will showcase local Italian families, and a children’s play area, with bean bag Bocce and other activities, will be expanded.

Visit NevadaCountyItalianFestival.com for more information.

Pizza Acrobatics
This summer, flying discs will return to parks and beaches. But dedicated pizza-tossing aficionados also will be outdoors, practicing their techniques.

Pizza acrobatics is a serious and growing activity, with competitions from Northern California to Italy. “Participants spin giant pies on their fingers like basketballs or perform synchronized dances with pizza dough,” according to Pizza.com.

Last year’s winner in Italy kept a pie in the air for more than three minutes. Watch a pizza acrobatics video at our magazine’s companion website SierraCulture.com.

(photo: The Don Giovannis)

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