Photo by Elizabeth Wagner
A small piece of Italy came to the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville over the weekend through the Festa d’Italia, a free Italian dinner planned by students, for students, 7 p.m. Saturday.
Italian food was packaged to-go and there was Italian music and decor for students to enjoy. The J.C. Williams Center was devoted completely to the annual Italian dinner party orchestrated by Exc!te. Food was handed to students in the long, yet quickly-moving line, and attendees moved to the picnic area outside of the JC and Finnegan Fieldhouse to eat and socialize.
“I think the turnout was great,” said Aileen Casillas, president of Exc!te. “Definitely more than 500 people came through the J.C. to get food.”
Last year the Festa d’Italia was about two weeks earlier in the semester than this year. Casillas said it was “later this month to accommodate for the coronavirus restrictions.”
It was different this year because of the desire for social distancing and low contact, but the packaging system with the food “worked out really well,” said Casillas.
With a different menu each year, this Italian cuisine consisted of pasta with meat sauce and meatballs, green beans, pizza and paninis. Assorted Italian cookies and several flavors of gelato were available for dessert, along with flavored San Pellegrino and water to quench one’s thirst.
Italian opera music resounded through the J.C. as students waited in line for their food. White lights were strung above the picnic tables from tree to lamp light, setting the ambiance for the night.
Some students danced to the Italian orchestral dance music together, forming a large group together that others would run and join or pleasantly watch on the side.
D.J. Hostutler, sophomore, had come to both this year’s Festa d’Italia and last year’s. “I liked last year’s because it flowed better and was in the Piazza,” said Hostutler. “But the system with the food (this year) is a lot better, especially with the gelato line because it was way faster.”
“This is a fun time,” said Hostutler, “a refreshing change from these busy past few weeks.”