|Picture Courtesy of Hofstra University.|
Hofstra University Hosts Its 20th Annual Italian Festival
By Alexandria Jezina
Earlier today on Sept. 23, Hofstra University of Long Island, NY hosted its 20th annual Italian Festival on the outside of its south side of campus. The event began at 11 a.m. filling the campus with vendors selling Italian gear, jewelry, authentic food, and much more. Hofstra students and faculty received free admission to the event, which was open to the public for an admission of $6 for adults.
Some of the main highlights of the event included performances by world-renown American-Italian musical artist Filippo Voltaggio, Italian American folk band Coro d'Italia that was founded in 1932, and Italian Poetry Readings held in Cultural Center Theater. The event also featured a bounce house and a make your own puppet section leaving smaller children and a few college students satisfied. Though it was held on a college campus, the event focused on reaching out to the Long Island community and celebrating American-Italian culture. The environment was very family-friendly, with its occupants ranging from toddlers, to college students, to adults, and many senior citizens.
What I found interesting about the event was how it was not mainly focused on being Italian, but being an Italian American. The event's main star Filippo Voltaggio was born in Northern California, the son of two Italian immigrants who was emerged into his Italian culture as a first generation American. At the event I also spotted many wearing "Proud to be Italian American" shirts. I personally was excited by all the traditional Italian food and gelato that filled the event and the air with a savory scent. There was also a shaved ice truck, ironically Hawaiian not Italian, at the event.
Overall, the Italian Festival illuminated that being an Italian American is a culture by itself, separate from being simply Italian or American. New York is the home of many Italian Americans and has become a place of emergence of a new 21st century culture entwining the cultural clashes of being Italian and American. For those who live on Long Island, this it is a great event to attend in addition to the San Gennaro Festival held in Little Italy in Manhattan, NY annually in September as well. As a college student, it's interesting to see this bubble filled with young students become a place where families feel welcome.