- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

The patriotic and fun-loving spirit of the District’s Italian community was on display yesterday during the eighth annual Festa Italiana.

“Italians have contributed to this great country not only their values of family and of their faith,” said the Rev. Lydio Tomasi, pastor of Holy Rosary Church, “but also a sense of what is beautiful, and especially a sense of balance and equilibrium so necessary for healthy human relations.”

People gathered on Third Street Northwest, outside the church and the Casa Italiana. A soft breeze brushed over tent tops of food stands, jewelry tables and T-shirts emblazoned with the green, white and red of the Italian flag.

“There are probably more people here than ever before,” said Nancy DeSanti of Alexandria, who has attended all eight of the street festivals, inspired by her father.

“He maintains close ties with relatives over there,” Ms. DeSanti said. “As a result, I have an appreciation of beauty, history and food.”

Lines formed clear across the street to buy Italian cold cuts and other specialties from Vince’s Italian Deli.

“I’ve come to all but one,” said Albert Paolantonio of Arlington, standing in line as he noted the “community spirit.”

There were long lines inside Casa Italiana, where pizzas, risotto with beans, soft drinks, jewelry and art pieces were sold. Next to the doorway stood statues of composer Giuseppe Verdi and sculptor, painter, architect and poet Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Musicians and dancers performed on a stage that displayed U.S. and Italian flags, and spectators sat in folding chairs or stood.

Entertainers included the Fieri folk dancers, dressed in black neckerchiefs, and red-and-white shirts, pants and skirts. They used drum sticks in one dance and tambourines in another.

Third Street was blocked, and police reported no problems.

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