Accessible Fun at the Italian Festa!

It’s festival time again and you know what that means “Festival Girl” is hitting the streets! I love attending festivals especially when I get the chance to try good food, good drinks, and learn about other cultures.

Although I’ve attended the Italian Festa before, this time was even more exciting! My friend/co-worker, Cindy, personally invited me. Cindy and her family are Italian.  They are also members of the John Perilli, Bella Villa Lodge (which means Beautiful House in Italian), so I was able to experience the Festa on a whole new level.  She even invited me to play Bocce Ball; an Italian lawn game.   I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to be able to play because it’s a game that demands a person to be able to roll a ball down the court, which I can, but not very well. Imagine my surprise when Cindy informed me the lodge had a ramp I could use to roll the ball making the game completely accessible for me to play.

Now, I’m no Bocce champion but I had big fun trying to become one. If you never had the opportunity to play Bocce Ball, I suggest you hit up an Italian Festa near you and try it out. It’s a boatload of fun.

The accessibilities at the Festa were amazing. Not only was I able to play Bocce Ball, I was also able to get around on the grounds fairly easy on my scooter. For those who displayed an accessible parking placard, they were able to park in the lodge’s lot that was close to the festivities. I’m always concerned about the restroom accessibility when attending festivals but the Festa had that taken care of too. There were a number of accessible porta restrooms on the grounds. I actually used one. Really, no porta restroom takes the place of a “real” restroom but I was impressed on how big it was. There was even hand rails inside which made it easier for me with my disability. Another thing I really like about the accessibility at the Festa was the high school student helpers that were on hand for anyone needing assistance. I saw most of them helping festival goers carry their food to the table. A few tables were even marked, “Accessible” which made finding a seat to chill and eat much easier.

The food at the Italian Festa was awesome. I scooted around to see what food I wanted to try. I settled on meatballs and pizza. Both were delicious and unlike any meatballs or pizza, I have ever had. Talk about authentic; you could just taste the difference.

I also got to witness the annual spaghetti-eating contest. That was fun to watch and I loved the fact that each contestant got to keep the Souvenir apron they were given to keep their clothes clean.

Needless to say, I had a blast! The Italian Festa is in the running for my top five festivals to attend. I love attending festivals especially when accessibility is planned out. I’m glad festival season is in the midst. There are many more I plan to attend before the season is up. I hope all are as fun and accessible as the Festa!

4 comments on “Accessible Fun at the Italian Festa!

  1. Shelly Hulce on

    This is great, Shari. I passed it along to two of my Radio Reading volunteers. Jill and Pete Petrini are a retired married couple that have been volunteer readers for many years. They also are members of the Sons of Italy and work very hard each year to cook and serve at the Fall Festa. I am sure they will enjoy hearing about your experience and sharing it with their fellow members.
    With the exception of watching that spaghetti eating contest, sounds like a real blast. I always say I’m going out there each year but haven’t made it in nearly 25 years when they used to have a very bad Elvis impersonator. Ha.


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