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Italian festival coming to Hollywood

Italian heritage, culture to be celebrated

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(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.

Bust out the forks and knives, it’s time for the South Florida’s Italian Festival.

The event, which will include music, games and of course, a lot of Italian food, is set to take place from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday at Arts Park Young Circle in Hollywood.

Food vendors catering the event include Gino's Italian American Market, Mama Mia Italian Ristorante, Maria Italian Ice and Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt.

"I think everybody who grew up in the Northeast grew up with an Italian festival of sorts,” said Anthony Paparella, who co-founded the event. “Whether it was in Boston, or New York, and they want to relive that here with their family and friends. There hasn't been an Italian Festival down here in South Florida, and even if you are not Italian, it's just a great way to spend a day with good food and music."

Paparella’s family owns Gino's Italian Meat Market, and Joe Bevelacqua, the other co-founder of the event, worked several entertainment venues.

When the pair realized there was a large Italian community in Hollywood, they decided to start the festival to honor their Italian heritage and bring the community together.

"My grandfather started his own Italian festival 25 years ago in Miramar during the early 90's. Everyone would just have fun with great food and great music, and I think his was even larger than ours, as his would last over a two-three day period. They would have 1,000 people per day. It brings me a lot of pride that I can carry his torch," Paparella said.

Bevelacqua said a big crowd is expected this year.

-- Story by Local 10 News intern Camille Montano

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