Smells and Sounds of Italian Culture in Downtown Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Smells and Sounds of Italian Culture in Downtown Reno

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Virginia Street was packed Saturday with folks embracing the smells and sounds of the Great Italian Festival.

More than two tons of pasta will be engulfed this weekend.

"I love the raviolis. Those are about the best," says Linda Stevens. "But, I like the meatballs that the other vendors have. It's just great."

The food is everywhere. It's not just pasta either. There's chicken, tiramisu and garlic bread.

"Tasty, delicious, great," says Sal Barbara, who made the trip from San Francisco. "It's good taste. It's very good."

These food lovers have made the Great Italian Festival a tradition over the years.

"We meet up with a lot of the seniors from Italy," says Stevens. "They come out of the Bay Area, and we love it."

What's not to love? Everything you could possibly need is right here. An endless amount of authentic Italian dishes. Plus, all types of music to entertain people through the weekend.

"The Eldorado puts on a super feast here," says Gary Stevens. "I'm Irish, but today I get to be Italian."

Sure, you can find food and music at just about any festival or cook-off here in Reno, but only at the Great Italian Festival will you find a grape-stomping competition.

Teams of two have just a few minutes to stomp as many grapes, as fast as they can.

"Trying to squish all the grapes. Make sure that it's not just the stomp, but you have to really squeeze them," says Tyler Ferraro who was in the competition. "And, of course, not falling out of the barrels."

There's so much food, you can't fit it all in one day. That's why the folks we talked to say they're definitely coming back for seconds on Sunday.

"We usually get this triple pasta," says Gary Stevens. "I see here that they got the mushroom ravioli, so I may have to try this before the day is up, or the weekend is up."

The festival starts up again Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 5:30 p.m.

Written by Adam Rasmussen

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