Newport Italianfest returns to Riverboat Row

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 10:32 AM EDT
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NEWPORT, Ky. (WXIX) - Italianfest is back after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19 with the event kicking off July 15 on Riverboat Row.

Several internationally known Italian musicians will be entertaining visitors for the four-day event that will be held below the Newport Aquarium between the Taylor Southgate and Purple People Bridges.

Nine Italian local restaurants are preparing food as Italianfest is expected to bring in more than 120,000 visitors.

“It’s part of our DNA to be part of this rich heritage and us serving classic Italian dishes. We look forward to the view. We look forward to the event every year. We look forward to the music and the people who come down here,” Larry Geiger from Pompilio’s said.

Tom Guidugli, Italianfest Chairman since 1997, is optimistic about the future of the festival while reflecting on the 29th anniversary.

“When we started initially, we started in the Newport shopping center and it was really more like a church festival and it has grown. This year, we looked and there was an opening in this area on this date so we backed it up and decided to go full steam ahead,” he said.

Here’s a look at the Italianfest schedule:

  • July 15: 5-11 p.m
  • July 16: 5-11:30 p.m.
  • July 17: 12-11:30 p.m.
  • July 18: 12-9 p.m.

In addition, the city of Newport is partnering with Ethos Laboratories to provide a location where Italianfest visitors can get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will be administered at the following dates and times:

  • July 15: 6-9 p.m.
  • July 16: 6-9 p.m.
  • July 17: 5-8 p.m.
  • July 18: 4-7 p.m.

“In getting this setup, it took a lot of logistics with the state of Kentucky wanting to be able to transport the vaccine on-site to make sure we had the right temperatures, to make sure we’re storing it correctly, to make sure we’re keeping it right at the max capacity it’s supposed to be, while also making sure we have people who can sign up, putting them into the right time frames,” Clinical Field Manager from Ethos Laboratories Jasmine Horton said.

People can walk up to Italianfest to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or make an appointment to receive one at the site by signing up at

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