That’s Italian

HANCOCK – The Copper Country’s Italian heritage had its day Saturday with the inaugural Festa Italiana at the Houghton County Arena in Hancock.

Visitors could listen to music, sample Italian foods and compete in activities such as grape stomping and spaghetti eating.

Ed and Barbara Gardner of Lake Linden had tried Italian caramel corn and espresso, both of which were to their liking. They also enjoyed the music, and other attractions.

“I like the Ferrari,” Ed Gardner said. “It’s a hoot. But out of my league.”

There were also vintage photographs of Italian-American businesses from the Copper Country.

Laura Villanelli Kent, a first-generation American from Hancock, was around for some of that history.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “It was a wonderful idea. We should be proud of our heritage, and this was a great tribute.”

In the early hours, attendees had their choice of Italian foods, from panini to lasagna. As of about 3 p.m., it had already been a busy day, said Tony Gemignani of Gemignani’s Italian Foods.

“We’re running out of stuff,” he said. “We used everything we had, then I had the guys from the restaurant run up with some more stuff. I’d say it’s been a pretty good turnout.”