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Italian Street Festival returns to Indy with food, culture, Catholic services

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After a year off, Holy Rosary Italian Street Festival is returning to Indianapolis.

As in previous years the event is free and full of food, live music, Italian American cultural heritage, and Catholic services and celebrations. It’s at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church at 520 Stevens St., down Stevens Street, and in nearby Lacy Park. The event runs from 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

New to the festival is a second stage of music including regional acts from Nashville, Detroit and St Louis, according to event organizer. Headliner the Woomblies will entertain crowds Friday evening. Saturday’s line-up includes Heartstone Crossing and the School of Rock House Band. Fans of Caruso and Frank Sinatra will also be entertained as classic Italian music favorites are played over the Festival public address system.

The Italian Street Festival features over 25 different Italian meats, pastas, salads and desserts prepared by volunteers in the expansive kitchens beneath the church. There is dancing, carnival rides and games for free. Twenty-five food stands under strands of lights include classic meatballs, meatball sandwiches, Italian sausage sandwiches, pizza, bruschetta, fried ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, cannolis, cheesecake, brownies and tiramisu. There is free parking in the Eli Lilly lots on East and New Jersey Streets.

There’s more than just calories available to enrich your experience. Father Ryan McCarthy will lead Catholic mass in English at 7 p.m. on Saturday after a festive processional down the street and to the church. Holy Rosary Catholic Church is around 100 years old, built by and filled with Italian immigrants to Indiana. Father McCarthy shared the inspiring story behind the name of the church and its chapel mural behind the altar in the video below. 

Father McCarthy says the dinners used to be small family spaghetti dinners that grew into church gatherings and eventually much larger community celebrations of Italian heritage. The Italian street festival now serves as a fundraiser for the church’s subsistence and humanitarian efforts.

On Friday and Saturday afternoon of the festival, the Italian Heritage Society of Indiana will host Bocce demonstrations. All are welcome to play bocce at the courts in Lacy Park, or learn how to play the historic Italian game. The Lacy Park Bocce Courts are located at McCarty and Greer Street at the south end of the Church.

Learn more at the church’s festival website and Facebook page.

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