Written by Gary Simeone Wednesday, 13 August 2014 00:00
The Italian Festival is one of the great Italian traditions in the Village of New Hyde Park. The annual event, which is sponsored by the Sons of Italy, Cellini Lodge No. 2206, brings together a mixture of traditional Italian food and music as well as fun games, rides and prizes. The event takes place on Aug. 13-17 at Michael J. Tully Park at 1801 Evergreen Ave.
“The Cellini Lodge Italian Festival is an event that the community looks forward to each year as it offers a great time for persons of every age and has something for everyone,” said Cellini Lodge
Corresponding Secretary and festival worker, Lynn Marino. “We have a reputation for providing a quality event for families with young children to seniors. Everyone finds a good time when they walk through that gate.”
Alfonso Squillante, first vice president the lodge, said the festival, in its 30th year in New Hyde Park, is a great event for the community.
“One of the reasons we have this festival is that we want to display our culture and the positive influences that Italian Americans have had on the community,” said Squillante. “We want to change the image of Italian Americans that some people attribute to certain movies and TV shows.”
He said that along with the great food and music at the four-day event, proceeds from the festival are donated to many charitable organizations including the Foundation for Autism, Gift of Sight
Program, Alzheimer Research, Cooley’s Anemia and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“Last year we had over 12,000 people at the festival and this year we’re hoping to have even more,” said Squillante. “We want people to come down, bring their family, bring the kids and enjoy themselves with good food, rides and music.”
What can people expect when they arrive at Tully Park during the five day stretch of Italian?
“Homemade pasta dishes from our talented cooks, some of the best zeppoles on Long Island and nightly live musical entertainment,” said Marino.
Marino added that a lot of hard work and dedication go into making the Festival a great experience for everyone involved.
“The lodge is a family,” said Marino. “This is evidenced by the volunteers that work the Festival each year. You can look around and see children, grandchildren, grandparents, friends of all generations, committed to giving our guests a good time. We consider the community our family as well and are appreciative of their attendance at our festival to help us continue our support of charities, scholarships and the community at large.”
The festival is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 3 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 10 p.m. at a $1 cost. Children under 8 years of age are free.
On Saturday night, festival goers will get to see fireworks light up the night sky. Sunday is Community Appreciation Day from 3 to 5 p.m. with free admission for all and half-priced pasta dishes.