HURLEY — The annual Festivale Italiano is taking place Saturday in downtown Hurley.
According to Dorrene O’Donnell, executive director of the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce, the “fun-filled, family event” starts at 11 a.m. with craft and food vendors set up for “shopping and lunch.”
“I encourage everyone to come down and celebrate all things Italian with the rest of us,” O’Donnell said. “Be Italian for a day.”
The stretch of Silver Street from U.S. 51/Second Avenue to Fifth Avenue will be blocked off for the event.
The craft fair runs until 5 p.m., and the food will last until dusk. According to O’Donnell, there is a variety of Italian dishes including meatballs, gnocchi, raviolis, spaghetti and more.
“The food is absolutely amazing,” O’Donnell said.
Musical events kick off at noon with “The Teds” performing outside Iron Horse, followed by Marty’s Goldenaires from 4:30-5:30 p.m. outside Associated Bank and Lowell Street Band from 6-9 p.m. outside Associated Bank.
In addition to food, shopping and music, the event also features activities for kids, including a watermelon and spaghetti eating contest at 4 p.m. outside the Iron Horse, Tim’s Toyz from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Silver Street and balloon twisting and face painting by Twinklz the clown.
A 50/50 raffle will be taking place throughout the festival, with the winner being announced at 9 p.m.
Attendees can also witness a jaws of life demonstration by the Hurley Fire Department at 2:30 p.m.
“They will demonstrate how to use the jaws of life,” O’Donnell said. “It’s nice to know we have highly trained professionals in the area who have our backs.”
Throughout the day, many local businesses and organizations will have booths discussing a variety of topics. According to O’Donnell, there are many non-profit organizations participating in the event.
Copper Peak will have a booth to discuss the ski flying event in 2014, as well as Aspirus Grand View Hospital on site to help people build their own first aid kits.
“We will also have the Hurley High School cheerleaders, featuring all things Hurley Midgets, the Hurley VFW talking about membership and selling poppies,” O’Donnell said. “The money from the poppies will go to programs for area veterans that need a helping hand with living expenses. Again, folks thinking of other folks.”
The Knights of Columbus will also be collecting aluminum cans. The cans are collected for the deposits and the proceeds will be used for a program to give assistance to families in the area for winter gear. The group is partnered with the area’s department of human services to provide coats, boots, mittens and more for families.
“I want to encourage people to throw their aluminum cans in the trailer for the Knights of Columbus,” O’Donnell said. “Such a great cause.”
New this year, downtown businesses can participate in an Italian-themed decorating contest during the festival. The chamber has “challenged” the businesses to decorate store fronts to be viewed by event goers.
Attendees will vote on the best decorators, and the winner will receive large trophy at 9 p.m.
“The trophy is 4 1/2 feet tall, custom made out of maple and was designed and created by Highline Corporation,” O’Donnell said. “It’s beautiful and it will be a traveling trophy. Folks can vote the day of the event at the chamber booth.”
As for the festival, O’Donnell wanted to thank all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors for “making the event possible.”
“It’s an on-going theme in our community with folks stepping up, no matter what is going on,” O’Donnell said. “The City of Hurley has been absolutely amazing, and without all of the volunteers, this could not happen. We want to see this event grow and it can happen, but everyone needs to come together.
“They show up year-in and year-out, and we’re so thankful to have such a caring community who make it possible for people to have a great time.”
For more information on the event, call the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce at 715-561-4334, or visit hurleywi.com.
Schedule of Events
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Craft show; Tim’s Toyz
11 a.m. to dusk — Food vendors
Noon to 3 p.m. — Balloon twisting and face painting by Twinklz
Noon to 4 p.m. — Music by The Teds
1 p.m. — Bean bag tournament at Spider’s Sports Bar
2:30 p.m. — Jaws of life demonstration by the Hurley Fire Department
4-4:30 p.m. — Spaghetti and watermelon eating contest
4:30-5:30 p.m. — Marty’s Goldenaires Drum and Bugle Corps.
6-9 p.m. — Lowell Street Band
9 p.m. — 50/50 raffle winner and store front decoration winner announced