That’s Amore! Raleigh’s Second Annual Italian Festival


On Saturday, October 8th, Downtown Raleigh was filled with the smell of fresh Pizza Margherita, Italian opera, and the Tarantella. Raleigh’s 2nd annual Italian festival drew guests from all around The Triangle for a curated afternoon of in-depth exploration of Italian art, culture, and most importantly, cuisine. Food trucks lined the streets of the festival, and served authentic and fusion Italian cuisine, boasting cone-shaped pizza, chocolate biscotti, raspberry gelato, and classic New York hotdogs. Attendees of the festival were covered in red, green and white paraphernalia, and spent the afternoon browsing through the Italian-owned business stands lined around the block, selling products such as oil paintings, Tuscan wine, and fine jewelry. 

Senora Rogers, resident Enloe Sicilian and Italian teacher attended the festival along with several Enloe students. “This area does not have as many Italian immigrants as other parts of the country, so we need these festivals to happen, but also a systematic effort to keep the traditions alive.” She continued, saying, “Some Italian traditions, such as music, stories, and folklore, dances, and songs were transmitted orally and not transcribed, so they are starting to disappear”. The festival allows the community to showcase their culture to non-Italians while maintaining intergenerational awareness of their shared culture for second and third-generation Italians.   

As Raleigh becomes more diverse, cultural festivals are becoming a staple within the Triangle, attracting people throughout the year. This past month, Raleigh has hosted events such as the African American cultural festival, Hispanic Heritage Festival, and will be hosting its 33rd International Festival in March of 2020. 

A large stage was placed at the intersection at Glenwood, where traditional dancers, singers, and Italian musicians performed throughout the duration of the festival. The most notable performance of the evening by far was the Tarantella, a traditional Italian wedding dance. The dance is comprised of high-speed twists and jumps, similar to that of a spider, or a tarantola. The piece was accompanied by a quartet, consisting of a mandolin, guitar, accordion, and tambourine. 

Eme Tuttell has been in the Italian program at Enloe for three years now and attended the festival along with her peers to further her understanding of her heritage. “We are very passionate when it comes to cooking, and it requires a lot of skill and creativity to master Italian dishes” she said, reflecting upon the food offered that afternoon. In the future, Seniora Rogers hopes for the festival to grow, and will widen Raleigh’s understanding as to what her culture can be.