Italian culture, Lincoln’s heritage celebrated in Saturday's festival

By: Carol Feineman News Messenger Editor
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Know and Go: What: Lincoln’s inaugural Italian Festival When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday Where: Downtown on 5th, E and F streets Info: 408-7503 Downtown Lincoln will resemble Lincoln of the first half of the 20th century during Saturday’s inaugural Italian Festival. That’s because a minimum of 25 Lincoln businesses were owned by Italian families from 1900 to 1950, according to Shirley Russell, volunteer executive director of the Lincoln Area Archives Museum. Saturday’s festival will honor the Italian culture while simultaneously raising funds for the Lincoln Library’s “Mother Goose on the Loose” program. The downtown festival is sponsored by Friends of Lincoln Kids, which also sponsors the annual Rib Fest for the past three years. Saturday’s inaugural festival includes 70 vendors, all-day entertainment and a classic car show. “We chose an Italian theme because I thought more people eat Italian food than ribs,” said Jeff Greenberg, founder and president of Friends of Lincoln Kids. “We want to raise money for the library because the ‘Mother Goose on the Loose’ is an excellent program that should not be discontinued due to city budget cuts.” The festival’s craft and merchandise vendors are from Northern California and the Bay Area. Besides food vendors, Buonarroti Ristorante from Lincoln, Rubino’s from Rocklin and Strings from Auburn will sell meal items. Local entertainers, all donating their time, include Marina Eugenios and Lincoln Hills Vaudeville Troupe members, Paul Krow’s comedy vignettes by Paul Krow, Jay and the Studebakers playing ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and Rich Rudis walking on stilts. Avant Garde Salon owner Gina Polen is organizing the classic car show to be held on 5th Street. In conjunction with the Italian Festival, the Lincoln Area Archives Museum will be open the same hours, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for its grand opening. An Italian display, along with several other historical links to Lincoln, will be highlighted at the museum. “I think it’s fantastic to celebrate different people,” the Archives Museum’s Russell said. “I enjoy what different cultures bring to the town of Lincoln, including the French, the Germans, the English, the Danes, the Portuguese, the Italians, the Greeks, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mexicans and so many others. All these different cultures came together to put Lincoln on the map.” The Native Sons of the Golden West will also celebrate 125 years during Saturday’s festivities.