Celebrate Bloomfield’s Roots With Little Italy Days This Weekend

The four-day festival features Italian food, entertainment, the Miss Little Italy pageant and the Celebrity Bocce Ball Tournament.


Four days of celebrating Bloomfield’s rich Italian heritage will kick off this Thursday, and you’re invited — whether you’re Italian or not.

“Everybody’s Italian this weekend!” says local musician and Bloomfield native Sal Richetti, Little Italy Days promoter since 2012. 

Little Italy Days was started in 2002 with the goal of celebrating the town’s roots. It has since grown to be recognized nationally as the No. 1 heritage festival in Western Pennsylvania, Richetti adds.

This year’s festival will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17; noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, and Saturday, Aug. 19; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20.

While general admission is free, VIP ticket holders receive a T-shirt, slice of pizza, a bottle of water, shaded seating near the main stage and access to the VIP tent and restroom.

Be transported to the Old Country as you take in the aromas of pasta, hot sausage, pizza, ravioli, cannoli and other delicacies from more than 200 vendors lining Liberty Avenue between Ella and Gross streets.

Filling your belly won’t be the only plus of the festival that drew 100,000 people last year. Enjoy entertainment by more than 30 acts, including Dr. Zoot, John Vento’s Italian Invasion and Italian opera vocalists John Lupone and Layla Cenk, over three stages.

Richetti is also looking forward to hearing Let’s Groove Tonight, the nation’s No. 1 Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band, Saturday afternoon.

Check out the full entertainment lineup here.

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Don’t miss the Celebrity Bocce Ball tournament, the Italians versus the Irish, that starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and continues at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Watch former Pirates pitcher Jason Grilli, Sens. Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana, former KDKA anchor Paul Martino and WTAE sportscaster Emily Giangreco play for the Italians, with Steeler Hall of Famer Rocky Bleier, Larry Richert and Rich Walsh of KDKA, Allegheny County Controller Corey O’Connor and Pitt Panther announcer Bill Hillgrove playing for the Irish team.

Saturday also marks the return of the Miss Little Italy pageant for girls ages 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, 13-15 and 16-19.

Pageant director Marianne Rieg has led the pageant since its inception in 2014.

“It’s a family-oriented pageant that gives the contestants confidence to speak in public and the chance to express themselves on stage,” Rieg says.

Contestants may still sign up for the pageant through this Thursday, and Rieg hopes more girls will participate.

She stresses participants do not have to be of Italian heritage or a resident of the City of Pittsburgh to enter.

Judges choose winners based on their energy, not their attire.

“One father told me the pageant transformed his daughter who was very shy prior to the event; it helped her come out of her shell,” Rieg says.

Contestants can sign up for the pageant here.

Little Italy Days also gives visitors a chance to support Bloomfield-area establishments.

Visit the website for more information, including parking.

Categories: The 412