NEW: Italian Festival coming to county fairgrounds

As longtime residents of San Francisco’s North Beach and the grandson of Swiss Italian immigrants, I’ve been looking forward to the first Italian Festival here.

The Festival to celebrate the area’s Italian heritage on Sept. 18 and 19 is going to be at the Nevada County Fairgrounds — not Memorial Park in Grass Valley as originally planned, an organizer told me this past weekend.

The group’s plans to hold the event at Memorial Park, including the Drew Reynolds softball field, had raised some objections from people there.

I found that very unfortunate but am glad the fairgrounds was accommodating. The event — the first of its kind here — is expected to feature a sanctioned bocce ball tournament, food booths, and exhibitions of Italian families in our county.

Italian immigrants were lured to the Gold Country with the promise of striking it rich. They accounted for many of the early minors.

My grandfather came to Northern California from the Ticino region of Switzerland on the Italian border, among the immigrants who helped establish the Italian Swiss Colony winery.

We look forward to attending and supporting the Italian Festival, a reminder of our area’s rich heritage.

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