ABOUT MISSISSAUGA ITALFEST
Mississauga Italfest, Ferragosto In the City is Mississauga's premier Italian festival.
Italfest was founded in 2012 by a group of passionate Canadian Italians, dedicated to preserving time-honoured traditions. Italfest became a Not -For-Profit Incorporated Company in 2015. Recognized as one of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals from 2016 – 2023, Italfest annually takes place in August mirroring Italy's national holiday, Ferragosto. Mississauga Italfest is a free festival where visitors can enjoy an authentic Taste of Italy. Featuring an interactive Heritage and Cultural pavilion with historical displays and demonstrations, Italfest shares cultural highlights through traditional family activities like watermelon, pasta, pizza eating, and cheese rolling contests. Italians from across Ontario flock to enter the exciting Bocce Ball tournament and Italian card games, Scopa and Briscola contests. Visitors line up to try their luck at Learn to Play Bocce and to Roll the Cheese. A variety of delicious authentic food, face-painting, magic, and puppet shows, stilt-walkers, a soccer challenge and sports-zone inflatables, global delicacies, crafts, and 50+ vendors and artisans round out the fun. Musical entertainment includes regional choirs and dance groups, local talent from folk to DJ’s and hip-hop artists to legendary international headliners direct from Italy. We were the first Italian festival to bring the Flag Throwers of Faenza Italy to Canada to display their medieval art form and presented 11-year-old Canadian Italian superstar Roberta Battaglia five times on our main stage from the age of 5 years right up to 2019 in front of a capacity Italfest audience of 25,000 people on a memorable Saturday night and just before her ground-breaking performance on America’s Got Talent.
COVID -19 severely restricted our ability to present a live festival in 2020. Determined to find new ways to engage our sponsors and stakeholders, volunteers, and fans, Italfest published a series of Newsletters in both English and Italian, through email and social media. They correspond with important dates such as, Italian Heritage Month, Italy’s National Holiday - Ferragosto, Christmas and Easter; full of history, recipes, traditions, and fun facts, we reached out to engage and touch our Italfest community. Eager to do something for seniors who were isolated and alone during COVID, Italfest partnered with Villa Forum, delighting many in long-term care, with gifts of bed-side tables. They could maintain physical distancing while flipping through family photos, doing crafts, dining and listening to music.
COVID-19 continued to bring many challenges but with it, resilience, and the ability for us to adapt, and change. In 2021 Italfest was thrilled to present “A Virtual Taste of Mississauga Italfest!” during Italian Heritage Month. Footage of past years highlighted the wonderful music, delicious food, and heritage and cultural initiatives that have become the hallmark of our festival. Exciting popular Italo-Canadian singer, Carlo Coppola, and hilarious comedian Frank Spadone headlined along with lovely soprano Josephine Mancini. The Italfest video featured the region of Calabria, with its songs, folklore, landscape, regional food, and known personalities including renowned Calabrese Chef, Luciano Schipano, and reached deep into people’s homes with exciting music, culinary delights, and entertainment! “A Virtual Taste of Mississauga Italfest!” garnered over 40,000 views on social media and received a coveted Achievement Award from Festivals and Events Ontario.
As we move into the next decade, we thank the dedicated, passionate people who have supported Italfest these past ten years: past Board and Committee members, Sponsors , Stakeholders, Community groups, Italian Dignitaries, Volunteers, the Federal and Provincial government and our number one partner, the City of Mississauga. And to every Mississauga Italfest loyal fan or visitor from near or from afar who have joined us through the years, we thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for a little taste of everything Italian.
In 2022, we welcomed thousands of festival goers LIVE and in-person for the first time since 2019. to celebrate our milestone 10th Anniversary on August 12 & 13, 2022 at Celebration Square.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone again on August 11-12, 2023 at Mississauga Celebration Square. See you all soon!