HURLEY — Hundreds of people celebrated their Italian heritage, or pretended to be Italian for a day, during the annual Festivale Italiano in downtown Hurley Saturday.
Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce director Dorrene O’Donnell said the event was “humbling” in terms of community support.
“It is just nice to see,” O’Donnell said. “To have this many people show up for a community event is wonderful.”
Attendees dined on authentic Italian foods, including spaghetti, raviolis, gnocchis and other dishes, and burned away the extra calories by dancing to a variety of musical acts, including The Teds, Lowell Street Band and Marty’s Goldenaires.
“The food was unbelievable,” O’Donnell said. “Just amazing. The music was also awesome. Everyone had a great time.”
In the afternoon, the Hurley Volunteer Fire Department put on a “jaws of life” demonstration to show how victims are extricated from vehicles during collisions.
“That was really interesting to see, because it showed what are professionals are able to do,” O’Donnell said. “A lot of people watched that event.”
In addition to the food and music, visitors also browsed through the craft fair, and kids were able to participate in the spaghetti and watermelon eating contest, get their faces painted and climb a rock wall.
“We’re always look for ways to make this even bigger each year,” O’Donnell said. “One thing is making more family events, so everyone can come and enjoy the day. It’s just a great, relaxed event and it’s just fun.”
The winning 50-50 raffle number is 2896 for a prize of $1,946, according to O’Donnell.
The Iron Horse won the chamber’s Italian decorating contest. The business’ store front was one of a dozen or so that was decked out for the day.
The crowd grew through the lunch hour and held on strong through performances of Marty’s Goldenaires Drum and Bugle Corps and the Lowell Street Band.
Marty’s used the occasion to record for an upcoming CD before barnstorming a half dozen establishments up and down the street. The Lowell Street band’s audience included many who danced on the street enjoying a beautiful end of the summer evening.
For more information on the festival or future events, call the chamber office at 715-561-4334, or visit hurleywi.com.