Newport Italianfest expects to have 120k+ visitors this weekend

Newport Italianfest returns for its 31st year starting Thursday, June 8.
Newport Italianfest returns for its 31st year starting Thursday, June 8.(City of Newport)
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:04 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 12:34 PM EDT
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NEWPORT, Ky. (WXIX) - The 31st annual Italianfest is returning to the City of Newport this weekend with more than a dozen Italian food vendors, performances and activities.

Newport has been a hub for Italian families for generations. In 1991, the former mayor, Thomas Guidulgi Sr., and the former commissioner, Jerry Peluso created the very first Italianfest to celebrate the city’s heritage.

Since then, the festival has grown even more with the expectation of more than 120,000 visitors this year.

“Experience a slice of Italy in the heart of Newport,” Mayor Thomas Guidulgi Sr. said. “Where the aroma of authentic cuisine wafts through the air, the sounds of traditional music echoes by the river, and the spirit of community and heritage warms the hearts of all who visit. This isn’t just a festival, it’s a passport to a vibrant cultural journey right in our backyard!”

Visitors can expect samples of Italian cuisine from the Tri-State’s Italian restaurants, enjoy traditional Italian performances, partake in a cooking contest and even watch celebrities indulge themselves with pasta in the spaghetti eating contest.

In addition, families can also play games and ride festival rides.

Italianfest details

  • Thursday, June 8 from 5-11 p.m.
  • Friday, June 9 from 5-11 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 10 from noon to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 11 from noon to 9 p.m.

Italianfest is held on Riverboat Row between the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and the Purple People Bridge below Newport on the Levee.

Food vendors

  • Gabby’s Cafe:
    • Chicken Cacciatore w/Cavatappi Pasta
    • Italian Meatballs w/DiStasi’s Famous Marinara and 1 Garlic Breadstick
    • Italian Pasta Salad
    • Garlic Breadsticks
    • Amaretto Brownies
  • J&T’s Italian Ice
  • Anthony’s
  • Canoli’s
  • Tony’s
  • Pagano’s Italian Grill:
    • Stuffed Shells with 3 cheeses, meat, fresh-made sauce
    • Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
    • Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
    • Italian Chili made with Italian cut green beans, zucchini, meat
    • Bruschetta made with fresh toasted bread, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato, fresh basil
    • Italian ribbon fries topped made with marinara and parmesan cheese
    • Funnel Cakes
  • Royal Roman’s Roadhouse
    • Meatballs on a Stick
    • Crabby Lobster
    • Mac & Cheese Mozzarella
    • Cheese Sticks with Fettuccini
    • Alfredo Chicken or Shrimp
    • “The Mobster” -- Mozzarella Meatball Pita Wrap
    • Italian Fries
  • Another Round:
    • Chicken Parmesan Hoagie -- Breaded chicken topped with marinara and provolone cheese on a fresh hoagie roll
    • Meatball Hoagie -- Meatballs in marinara topped with cheese on a fresh hoagie bun -Sausage and peppers- Italian sausage sautéed with onions and peppers.
    • Crawfish Mac and cheese -- Pieces of crawfish blended with macaroni in a creamy cheddar sauce
    • Italian Jalapeño ravioli -- Breaded jalapeño ravioli covered in marinara topped with mozzarella
  • Pompilo’s:
    • Build Your Own Pasta: Choice of Spaghetti or Penne Pasta, choice of Marinara or Alfredo, add on a Meatball, Sausage or Chicken.
    • Chicken Parmigiana
    • Italian Hoagie with chips -- Meatball or chicken parmigiana
    • Sausage, Pepper and Onion Appetizer
  • Papa John’s
  • Italian Cookies
  • Italian Ice
  • Sweet Tooth Candies:
    • Homemade Ice Cream: Banana, Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate, or Dairy-free Vanilla in your choice of a waffle cone or cake cone.
    • Iceballs: Cherry, Nectar, Blue Raspberry, Lime, or Grape.

Entertainment line-up

  • Thursday
    • 5-6:30 p.m. Pete Wagner Band
    • 6:30-7 p.m. Opening Ceremony
    • 7-7:30 p.m. Honored Italian-American Sons and Daughters Award
    • 7:30-8:30 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
    • 9-11 p.m. Louis Prima Jr. and The Witness
  • Friday
    • 5-7 p.m. Pete Wagner Band
    • 7-8 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
    • 8-8:45 p.m. Pete Wagner Band
    • 9-11 p.m. Four C Notes
  • Saturday
    • 12-12:45 p.m. Pete Wagner Band
    • 12:45-1:45 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
    • 2-4 p.m. Four C Notes
    • 4-5 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
    • 5:30-8:30 p.m. Vinyl Countdown
    • 9-11 p.m. Louis Prima Jr. and the Witness
  • Sunday
    • 12-1:30 p.m. Pete Wagner Band
    • 1:30-2:30 p.m. Moreno Fruzzetti
    • 3-5:30 p.m. Joey Said No
    • 6-9 p.m. Naked Karate Girls

For more information on Newport Italianfest, visit their website here.

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