After announcing the cancelation of Festa Italiana 2022 back in April, the Italian Community Center(ICC) Board of Directors has reversed that decision. The event will now be held the weekend of Sept. 24 at the ICC grounds at 631 E. Chicago St. in the Historic Third Ward.
The event has historically been held at Henry Maier Festival Park.
During a press conference Tuesday, Rose Anne Fritchie, president of the ICC, said the reversal of the earlier decision to not host Fest Italiana 2022 was due in part to a large amount of public blowback, but that the move was something that has been considered by the board since last winter.
“It upset people a great deal… We took a lot of heat for it,” Fritchie said.
Urban Milwaukee first reported that Festa Italiana 2022 was largely canceled due to financial issues. The ICC’s 2019 tax filing shows that the organization has a negative fund balance of $1,156,329.
“Upon further consideration, we felt that we could do it on our own grounds,” Fritchie said. “The pandemic was very hard on us fiscally. As you can see, we have a beautiful building which hosts wonderful events and a large parking lot that caters to downtown Milwaukee businesses, all of which shut down for over two years.”
She added that Festa Italiana could return to the Summerfest grounds in the future, but that decision will come once the ICC sees financial results from this year’s event.
Preliminary plans for Festa Italiana 2022 show that both the inside of the ICC and the surrounding parking lot will be used to host the event. One stage for music will be set up outside. Within the building, guests will find the religious art and photo exhibit, as well as a gathering area for mass.
Other Festa Italiana favorites including bocce, Italian Idol, the Italian Dance Group, and Cucina will also return, but on a smaller scale.
Fritchie did not specify how much money this move will save the ICC but said the hold the event on the ICC grounds will be “considerably less” than at Maier Festival Park.