By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 26, 2021 at 1:01 PM

Festa Italiana has been canceled for the second straight year.

Last year’s festival – which was to have been shorter than normal due to the Democractic National Convention – was also canceled.

“COVID-19 has impacted virtually every business and industry across the country. Around the world festivals, sporting events, conferences and community celebrations have been canceled, or postponed, due to lingering effects of this virus,” said Italian Community Center President and Festa Director Joe Emanuele in a statement issued Friday.

“Unfortunately, Festa Italiana in Milwaukee is among the festivals that will have to wait until next year. The health and safety of our employees, volunteers, vendors, members and attendees is our highest priority.

"While we have confidence in the City and County of Milwaukee’s vaccine distribution plan, we thought it would be prudent to give our health officials a little more time to reach our broader community.”

Festa, organized by the ICC and launched at the Summerfest grounds in 1978, was the first of the lineup of ethnic festivals.


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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.