By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 30, 2024 at 4:15 PM

Not only is Festa Italiana 2024 returning to the Henry W. Maier Festival Park, the Italian Community Center has announced that the event will kick off the ethnic festivals seasons, too, moving to spring.

Festa Italiana – back on the Summerfest grounds for the first time since 2019 – will take place May 31-June 2.

This year's “Little Italy on the Lakefront” will including long-familiar features like the Cucina Showcase cooking area, a culture and heritage exhibit, fireworks, a bocce tournament, Sunday Mass, Italian Idol and, of course, lots of food, wine and live entertainment.

"We’re looking forward to returning to Henry W. Maier Festival Park, and can’t wait to have you join us in celebrating all things Italian," says Sandy Winard, ICC president and executive director of the festival, which for the past two years was held in September on the ICC grounds.

According to Winard, the festival will not utilize the entire grounds.

Festa Italiana was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and in 2022, the usual July event at the lakefront was moved to September at the ICC.

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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.