COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ciao! The Columbus Italian Festival is returning this weekend, marking 43 years of celebrating the culture and ancestry of Italy.
The annual festival runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday near St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in downtown Columbus. Festivalgoers will get an authentic taste of Italian culture, with handmade pastas, pastries, live entertainment, church tours and more.
Food, live music
Twenty-five food vendors are lining Hamlet and Lincoln Street, including sweet treats from Julia’s Italian Pastries, chicken and sausage from Carfagna’s, stromboli rolls from DeChellis Concession and gelato from Ciao Gelato.
Two stages will host live entertainment throughout the weekend, the Rosati Windows Contemporary Stage and the Carfagna’s Traditional Stage. Performing acts include five-piece combo The Join Rockers on Friday, guitarist Chaz Mechenbier and singer Nicki Baker on Saturday and Los Angeles-based artist Tae & The Wave on Sunday.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is open for guests to view the structure. Guided tours are also available, including a 7:30 p.m. tour on Friday, five tours on Saturday and three tours on Sunday. The Dublin Singers Choir and the St. Thomas More Newman Center Choir are also performing in the church.
The 15th annual Columbus Italian Parade is taking to the streets at 1 p.m. on Sunday, weaving through Victorian Village, the Short North and Italian Village.
Festivalgoers can participate in the Cugini Law Bocce Tournament from 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Four-player teams are competing across four courts in double-elimination matches.
Inside the cultural booth, festivalgoers can learn more about Italian life from linguists, bakers, artists, pasta makers, baristas and more. Italian-language students from local Catholic high schools will also invite guests to learn a few Italian words and how to make Italian dishes.
Tickets are available for $10 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and for $15 for a three-day pass. Kids younger than 12 are free with adult admission. Purchase tickets online here.
Shuttle parking is available at the Columbus State Community College lot, with access on Jefferson Avenue between E. Long Street and E. Spring Street and a second entrance on E. Spring Street west of Jefferson Avenue. Shuttles are running from 3:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Public paid parking is also available at the State Library, 274 E. 1st Avenue.