The 2020 Festa Italiana, which had already been shortened due to the Democratic National Convention, has now been completely canceled.
In a statement released this morning by the Italian Community Center, which runs the summer festival – the longest-running ethnic festival at the lakefront – Italian Community Center President and Festa General Chairman Joseph T. Emanuele said:
"After careful consideration, Festa Italiana 2020 will be cancelled.
"Planning and preparations were in order to proceed with this year’s festival however due to the unforeseen circumstance of COVID-19, the Italian Community Center Board of Directors have deemed it the responsible course of action to take in canceling this years festival.
"The coronavirus has impacted virtually every business and industry across the country. The health and safety of our employees, volunteers, vendors, members and certainly our attendees are our highest priority to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
"Festa Italiana will return to its glory BIGGER and BETTER than ever in 2021."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.