On the menu: Ybor City's Festa Italiana tradition

Experience Italian wines, cocktails and local eats during the annual Festa Italiana Weekend in Ybor.

click to enlarge One of the wood-fired pies Tre Figlie crafted at last year's Festa Italiana. - Kimberly DeFalco
Kimberly DeFalco
One of the wood-fired pies Tre Figlie crafted at last year's Festa Italiana.

The three-day Festa Italiana Weekend will kickoff at Ybor City's Italian Club of Tampa from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 9. The annual tradition, benefiting the club's restoration fund, continues through April 11 and 12, with food samples, craft cocktails and other Italian delights.

Featuring more than 70 wines from Italy and eats like antipasti and dessert, the kickoff, which costs $60 for non-club members, also acts as the fest's Wines of Italy tasting. A silent auction will also highlight prizes.

Later, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the free admission Bocce Ball Invitational at Centennial Park, as well as the Italian Club's Italian Idol sing-off and Homemade Vino Competition, will take place throughout the afternoon.

Also happening at Centennial is Festa Italiana's main gathering from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, which rounds out the event-packed weekend.

Festgoers, who purchase general admission or "Feast Deal" tickets, will experience live entertainment, cooking competitions and lessons, grape stomping, fare from more than 35 Bay area food-slingers and the Club Italia Party Tent, set to feature lounge-style drinks, including frozen bellinis and Italian margaritas.

Children under 12 years old gain entry for free, and a designated kid's area will keep them occupied with games and other activities.

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