Transport yourself to Italy at The Italian Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29. This festival, part of the Festál series, has filled Seattle Center with Italian art, food and culture since 1988.
Catch a variety of local Italian-American musical acts — including The Tarantellas, Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band and Tony La Stella — on the Moretti Main Stage from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. From noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, there will be more music at the Fisher Pavilion Courtyard wine and beer garden.
Speaking of wine and beer gardens, there will be three at the festival. In addition to the Fisher Pavilion Courtyard, the Fisher Pavilion and Fisher Terrace (roof of the Fisher Pavilion) will also be serving up bottles or glasses of Italian beer, wine, liqueurs and sparkling water.
There will, of course, be plenty of Italian food vendors to explore as well. Pizza, pasta, and meatball sandwiches are just a few of the savory options. For something sweet, try an Italian soda or a treat from Borracchini’s Bakery.
For more food-centered fun, head to the chef’s stage for cooking demonstrations with chefs from Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, That’s Amore Italian Cafe, Isernio Sausage and more. Celebrity chef Marco Sciortino will also be doing a demonstration from 3 to 3:45 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free and there will be free samples!
If you’re looking to watch a unique competition, be sure to stop by the Fisher Food Court on either Saturday and Sunday from 12:45 to 5 p.m. to see three-person teams in the Grape Stomp contest. Teams are given four minutes to stomp on 20 pounds of grapes. The team to collect the most juice wins!
The family fun continues at the Seattle Center Armory. On both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., view a live exhibit of Italian dog breeds. There will be separate booths for each breed, including Sicilian sighthounds and Italian greyhounds.
Other Saturday and Sunday exhibits feature classic Italian vehicles (10 a.m.-4 p.m., near the Seattle Center Fountain); historic photos (10 a.m.-5 p.m., Center House/Armory); and art and photography inspired by Italy, with a special memorial collection of works from woodcarver Roberto Mario Tacchi (10 a.m.-5 p.m., Armory).
If you’d rather get musical, experience Opera Magic, a program designed for young listeners from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Learn about the history of opera through song and comedy!
More activities at the Armory on both Saturday and Sunday include the Festa Pizza Toss at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; an inflatable soccer pitch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and face painting starting at 11 a.m.
In addition to all the food, music and activities, there will be a bocce tournament. Watch teams compete at the Seattle Center Pavilion starting at 9 a.m. On Saturday, teams will play recreationally while Sunday is meant for teams that regularly play together.
Seattle Center Festál: The Italian Festival
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29
Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle
More info: festaseattle.com