On June 4, 1986 a group of seven individuals from the United Italian Central Committee met for the purpose of developing a format for an Italian America Festival. Those seven Festa Founders were: Dominic Bagnoli, Nick Boscia, Mike DeGirolamo, Nick DiSimone, Vince Lemmo, Armen Pileggi, and "Coach" Shori. As committees were developed, more people were added and finally, in January 1987, the Stark County Italian American Festival Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit organization.
The purpose of the Foundation was to promote and further the interests of all persons who support and espouse the Italian culture in America. Each of the seventeen Italian/American organizations in Stark County was invited to provide a delegate representative to the Festival Foundation.
Beginning in 1987, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, the Foundation developed and continues to operate a yearly festival. From 1987 to 1990 the festivals were held in downtown Canton in and around the Civic Center. In 1991, the festival was expanded and moved to the Stark County Fairgrounds. After being at the Fairgrounds for over 24 years, it was moved back downtown in 2015. In 2019, the festival was moved yet again to Weis Park. And Finally it has moved back to Downtown Canton's new and improved Centennial Plaza where it is still hosted today.
A major part of the success of our festival over these many years has been due to the generous support of our many sponsors, advertisers and patrons. As a non-profit organization, all officers and workers volunteer their services. No salary or compensation is provided. Funds generated by the festival are used for the sole purpose of awarding scholarships to Stark County high school graduates. To date, the Festival Foundation is proud to have awarded over $206,000.00 in scholarships.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal volunteers, sponsors, advertisers and patrons who have all played a part in making our first 37 years so successful. As we look to the future, our goal is to continue our scholarship program while providing our greater Canton/Stark communities the BEST in summer festival fun.
Stark County Italian-American Festival
Centennial Plaza 330 Court Ave NW, Canton, OH 44702
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