Featuring authentic Italian cuisine, live entertainment, bocce ball and plenty of vino, the Italian American Heritage Foundation is expected to bring 35,000 fans of Italian culture to downtown San Jose.

The 35th annual Italian Family Festa will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 and 30, at Guadalupe River Park & Gardens, directly adjacent to Little Italy, and organizers are excited.

“It truly represents all things Italian,” says Joe Rizzi, director of the Italian Family Festa—“family, food, culture, history and camaraderie.”

This year, the Festa looks beyond Italy with “Discover the Other Italy” at the festival’s “Cultural Village.” Here, visitors will learn more about Ticino, an Italian-speaking region of southern Switzerland, where villages communicated across long distances with bellowing “Swiss Alphorns.” Demonstrations of this centuries-old mode of communication will be given at the Cultural Village. Additionally, performers will sing Italian-Swiss folk songs accompanied by Swiss dances.

 The Grape Stomp contest, usually one of the most popular attractions at the festa, will allow visitors to test their stomping skills on each day of the event. Live musical performances will include The Fratello Marionettes and Bay Area Opera Collaborative on Saturday; ALFIO, the Australian-Italian tenor and songwriter, and Wally’s Swing World will perform on Sunday.

The Wine Tasting Garden will host featured wineries, including the Bruzzone Family Vineyard, Fortino Winery, Gianelli Vineyards, Guglielmo Winery, Perrucci Family Vineyard and Rosa d’Oro. Guitarist Fred McCarty will provide a sipping soundtrack.

The Italian Family Festa is the Italian American Heritage Foundation’s largest fundraising event. The use it to raise funds for the IAHF youth scholarship college fund and other cultural events throughout the year.

“The Festa is a labor of love and of pride,” Rizzi explains. “It is incredibly satisfying for me to gaze out among the crowd and see both young and old enjoying the sights and sounds of Italian heritage and tradition.”

Festa hours will be from 11am to 8pm on Saturday, and 11am to 6pm on Sunday. The event is free to public. More info.

Photos courtesy of Italian Family Festa: