By Alexi Knock, Assistant News Editor
Dozens of vendors overflowing with trinkets, a guitar orchestra and lots of tomato sauce. South Campus was the site of the 18th annual Italian Experience Festival on Sunday, Sept. 19 where booths of over 50 local vendors covered the quads and Italian music was the backdrop for the entire afternoon. The festival is one of the largest of its kind in the country and has become a Long Island tradition.
"Hofstra is really the center of Nassau so it was fitting to have the festival here," said Long Island local Elaine Catalanotti.
One of the booths was ran by Phi Sigma Sigma, where the sorority sisters let children purchase and paint pumpkins. "It's fun to see everyone out here being proud of who they are," said senior marketing major Claudia Caceres, a Phi Sigma Sigma sister.
In addition to crafts for children, the festival featured live entertainment by several Italian performers, including international singer Michael Amante.
"Michael Amante was wonderful live," said Long Island local Carmen Maggiore.
Although the University's academic quads were filled with colorful goods, the most important part of the festival for people young and old was unquestionably the food. "It's nice to get a little taste of homemade Italian food," said sophomore public relations major Liz Weeden. "I can hear my grandma saying ‘mangia mangia!' [eat, eat]."
The afternoon was painted in red, white and green and had partakers in the festival reflecting on their culture. "I love to hear the old time people speaking to each other in Italian," said senior marketing major Marie Ferreira.
"Even though I'm Spanish, seeing everyone out here makes me even more proud of my heritage."
Catalanotti also felt that the festival brought not only fun, but an opportunity to learn as well. "I had no idea that there were so many different organizations involved in Italian heritage like women's groups, tracing genealogy and museums," said Catalanotti. "It's good to know that there are so many other people out there like us trying to preserve the Italian culture on Long Island."