By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Apr 08, 2022 at 3:31 PM

Milwaukee summer festival season is on approach – but unfortunately one classic festival won't return for 2022 as Festa Italiana announced today that it has been canceled once again.

This year's cancellation marks Milwaukee's third straight Festa-less summer, with the festival canceling in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a statement from the festival, COVID is yet again to blame for this year's cancellation – the health concerns as well as particularly its ongoing economic impact. 

"Due to the circumstances associated with COVID-19 and its impact on the organization during the past few years, the Directors deemed it the best course of action to reimagine how we celebrate Italian culture and heritage in 2022," said Festa Italiana organizers in a release.

"COVID-19 has impacted virtually every business and industry across the country. Unfortunately, Festa Italiana in Milwaukee is among the festivals that has to adapt after the economic impact of the past two years," said Anne Fritchie, President of the Italian Community Center and Festa Director, in the statement. 

"The social impact of holding Festa Italiana is near and dear to our hearts and brings with it a stronger bond between the Italian Community Center and the City of Milwaukee. We have always been proud to be the oldest of the ethnic festivals in Milwaukee. However, we are at a point in time where we must think of not only the physical health of our members, but also the financial health of our organization when planning events."

"Festa Italiana provided our community an important celebration of Italian culture for 41 years, featuring beautiful music, delicious food and magical firework displays," said Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., in a statement. "MWF is grateful to the leadership and volunteers of the Italian Community Center as well as the festival vendors, sponsors, and fans over the decades. Of course, Festa Italiana is welcome at Henry Maier Festival Park in the future."

While Festa Italiana will not return in 2022, according to Fritchie's statement, the organization will still attempt to celebrate Italian history and culture in other ways at Italian Community Center this year. For more information on any other future ICC events or celebrations, stay tuned to its website

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates about the future of Festa and the rest of summer festival season.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.