A little bit of Italy in Vail | VailDaily.com

A little bit of Italy in Vail

Erik Vienneau

Like most people, Vail’s Rick Scalpello has some vivid childhood memories.One of his favorites was his annual trip to the Italian Day Picnic in Pittsburgh, where for a day everyone was Italian.”It’s the food, the music, the dancing and the fun that stuck in my mind,” Scalpello says. He’d dance the Tarantella, eat Italian sausage and join throngs of other revelers. Although Scalpello is Italian, and the yearlyfestival was simply part of his upbringing, he says you didn’t have to be Italian to join in the fun.”You were all Italian for the day,” Scalpello says. So when four Italian-owned business approached him with the idea of doing Festival Italiano on Vail’s Meadow Drive, he jumped at the chance. He had already approached the town council with a vision of running a bunch of ethnic festivals to help rejuvenate Meadow Drive, and with his childhood experience, he couldn’t wait to bring the Italian-themed fun to Vail along with Valbruna, Campo de Fiori,La Bottega and Grappa Fine Wines.So, Sept. 7-8 Vail will ring with the sounds of Italy at the first Vail Festival Italiano! Visitors to the festival will sample a variety of Italian food specialties, wines and beers, and enjoy traditional Italian music and dancing.For those who want to see the real thing after the sneak peak at Italian heritage, they can register to win two roundtrip tickets to Italy on Lufthansa and four nights lodging in a villa in Tuscany from Small Vineyards.Festival Italiano isn’t the only project Scalpello is pulling off to breath new life into Meadow Drive. He’s also behind the Vail Farmers Market, the guided art walks, which take place on Meadow Drive every Sunday, and the upcoming winter shopping festival, Kriskindlmarkt, (which is a pre-Christmas festival originally held in Nuremberg, Germany) set to kick off between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.Scalpello believes all of Vail is due for revitalization.”We had to start somewhere,” he says. “Meadow Drive had been neglected and was known as the bus route. We sat down and listed all the businesses there and ended up with 80 and realized Meadow Drive was truly Vail’s MainStreet.” So now Scalpello is intent on improving the recognition of the large number of businesses that are on the street and on improving the overall appearance of Meadow Drive.For more information about Vail’s first Festival Italiano, call 328-1182.Festival Italiano scheduleSaturday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Small Vineyards-Lufthansa Entertainment Tent10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Food tasting booths11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Alpine Bank Mini Bike Race11:30 a.m. 3 p.m. Children’s activities10 a.m. 4 p.m. Free Vespa scooter rides Italian Sports Car Displays Food and merchandise vendors Street entertainersSunday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Small Vineyards-Lufthansa Entertainment Tent10 a.m. 4 p.m. Vail Farmers Market10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Children’s activities10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free Vespa scooter rides Italian Sports Car Displays Food and merchandise vendors Street entertainers

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