Just like in years past, the city of San Jose and the Italian American Heritage Foundation will team up to throw a two-day party later this month to pay homage to all things Italian.

Arts and crafts, bocce ball, food, cultural readings, wine tasting and even grape stomping will be open to the public at Italian Family Festa, held Aug. 27-28 in San Jose. Live music will fill the air both days with bands like Heartstrings, the Fratello Marionettes and Wally’s Swing World.

This year, a lecture series will be offered on topics like Italian culinary treats, women’s contributions to Italian culture and interactive readings for children about the language and traditions.

The Family Festa has been a tradition in San Jose since the 1980s. For the 36th annual event, the Italian American Heritage Foundation (IAHF) moved the location to History Park.

Joe Rizzi, Festa director of eight years, said that History Park was chosen “for its beauty, shade and space, but it was the historic buildings surrounded by cozy tree-lined streets that really sealed the deal for us. I know our patrons are going to love the wonderful neighborhood ambience which connects all the diverse cultures in the Valley and serves as a reminder we are one ‘la famiglia.’”

Rizzi added that it was no longer financially sustainable to hold the Festa at the previous location, Guadalupe River Parkway. It was an added bonus that History Park focuses a lot on tradition and has a history of its own.

With all the shade and space, it is suggested that attendees bring lawn chairs or blankets so they can spread out and relax.

Rizzi said his favorite part about the Italian Family Festa is seeing the camaraderie and smiles on people’s faces when they reunite with family and friends after extended periods of time. The IAHF is a nonprofit focused on the upkeep of Italian heritage in the community.

Proceeds from the day will benefit heritage-based events and 10 scholarships offered to those pursuing higher education this school year.

“In this day and age, where there is so much angst in the world, I just want people to have two days of forgetting the angst and to enjoy the togetherness of Italian culture,” Rizzi said. “It is a goal of ours to give people a break from everyday issues that we are faced with.”