The Ultimate Guide to Festa Italiana 2017

Forget about spaghetti and meatballs. Experience real Italian cuisine on Oct. 7.


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The first-ever Festa Italiana Hawai‘i on Oct. 7 in Kaka‘ako will feature all things Italy, from authentic food to Italian wines.
Photos: Courtesy of Festa Italiana Hawai‘i

 

Hawaiʻi has no shortage of authentic Asian food, but do locals know where to find real Italian cuisine? (Hint: We’re not talking about pepperoni pizza or chicken parm.) By putting on Festa Italiana, the first-ever event of its kind in the Islands on Oct. 7, the Friends of Italy Society of Hawaiʻi hopes the answer to that question will soon be a resounding “sì!”

 

What it Is

Honolulu’s Festa Italiana in Strada, or the street festival, is the first part of the event. Attendees can purchase authentic Italian and Italian-inspired dishes while enjoying live entertainment. There will be a wine and beer garden, too, with a selection of Italian (of course!) wines, beer and traditional spirits. The second part of Festa Italiana is the VIP portion, dubbed Passporto Italiano, or Passport to Italy. This ticketed event includes nine culinary tastings, six wine pours, an Italian cocktail and other perks.

 

How Much it Costs

The street festival is open to the public; entrance is free. VIP tickets to Passporto Italiano are $100 (plus transaction fees). Serious wine drinkers also have the option of buying an additional six wine pours for $20 plus fees. All tickets can be purchased online.

 

Entertainment

Live Italian or Italian-inspired musical entertainment will be provided by Mango Season, Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony, Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, Mike Lewis Trio and Pierre Grill. VIPs will also be treated to a luxury Italian car showcase by Velocity Honolulu.

 

What to Know Before You Go

To allow festivalgoers the chance to fill their bellies with multiple Italian treats, each vendor—from Il Gelato Hawaiʻi, Bethel Union and Bevy to Brick Fire Tavern and J.J. Dolan’s— is keeping portions small and priced at $8 or less. Attendees can also purchase a commemorative pin from the Friends of Italy Society of Hawaiʻi booth, which earns a discount with every vendor of $1 off one or more dishes. Portable restrooms will be made available at the street festival, with regular bathrooms accessible to VIP guests.

 

Where and When

The street festival will be on Oct. 7, from 4 to 10 p.m., on Cooke Street. The VIP experience, Passporto Italiano, runs on the same day, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 449 Cooke St.

 

 

Getting There

Street parking is available around Kaka‘ako, as well as $4 parking (with validation) at 400 Keawe St. The parking entrance is off Pohukaina Street. If you’re interested in burning off some of those pasta calories, Biki will also provide transportation options at Biki Stop 207 at on Cooke and Auahi streets. Staff will be on hand to help riders check bikes in and out. In addition, Festa Italiana attendees can visit the Biki tent at the festival to receive a free bag, perfect for taking home a little leftover Italian fare (limited to the first 20 people who sign up for Biki passes). Buon appetito!

 

Festa Italiana, 4 to 10 p.m., Cooke Street in Kaka‘ako, free, festaitalianahawaii.com

 

READ MORE STORIES BY LENNIE OMALZA

 

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