Italian Festa in Penn Valley on September 14-15

IMAGINE A FESTIVAL WITH THE SIGHTS, sounds and aromas of the Italian countryside, celebrating the Italian heritage in Gold Country. It’s coming to Nevada County, at the Fourth Annual Italian Festa at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley on September 14-15.

With good friends and family, you’ll taste the flavors of Italy, including artisan pizza, fresh-made pasta and festival-style Italian sausage. Savor Tuscan-style wines from the likes of Montoliva Vineyard in a wine garden.

Watch or join a grape-stomping competition. Musica Italiana is all around, including the Don Giovanni Italian Band, Italian singer Michael Borima and more. You’ll hear folk music, traditional and popular songs, even adaptions of operatic arias.

A Frank Sinatra-Dean Martin tribute band—the Dean-A-Holics—will croon That’s Amore and other classics. An accordion player also will stroll the park grounds.

Activities include singing and dancing, a bocce ball tournament, food and cooking demonstrations, a meatball eating tournament, shopping for Italian-themed arts and crafts, and a Heritage Tent, featuring literature, genealogy and posters highlighting local old-time Italian families.

Children’s activities are primo: This year’s festival features “Circus Imagination,” a popular, traveling circus where “kids are the stars.” Children are picked right out the audience to perform under their own Big Top.

Children’s games, including Bean Bag Bocce, are being offered too.


The festival honors the legacy of Italians in the foothills. Though the Cornish Miners’ influence on Gold Country is well known, Italian immigrants also were active in settling the region.

They were gold miners, ranchers and skilled stone masons who built Sierra roadways.

The Italian immigrants also brought their culinary skills to the region, including winemaking, olive-oil production and bread- and pizza-making in authentic stone ovens.

In addition to the Italian Festa, an Italian Cultural Center is open year-round in the
lobby of the Gold Miners Inn-Holiday Inn Express in Grass Valley.

For more information visit,

Here’s a video from the inaugural festival:

(photo: Gail Lipson, an artist at Art Works Gallery in Grass Valley, has photographed Italy extensively).

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