33rd Annual Italian Day Festival comes to Bristol this weekend

bristol-italian-dayBy: Mary Elizabeth Sullivan; the Wire

Bristol Lions Park will be filled with food vendors, crafters, and live music on Saturday, Sept. 10, as the Bristol Lions Club celebrates its 33rd Annual Italian Day.

The day will celebrate not only the Lions Club’s commitment to community service, but the strong Italian heritage that has been a part of the community for years.

“At one time in Bristol, you were either Irish or Italian,” said Steven Martino, Lions Club and Italian Day committee member.

Martino says that the Irish formed a Rotary Club, and the Italians, who “felt a little bit left out,” formed a Lions Club. He isn’t sure who started the “Italian Day,” but he does know there’s now an Irish festival to match.

“Of course, now, we’re a mixed bag, a lot of Irish guys as well,” he said.

Despite your heritage, all community members are welcome to Italian Day.

”A lot of people come down to walk around, see the vendors, have a sandwich, and listen to some music.” said Martino.

Martino recommends that festival goers arrive “the earlier, the better” at the festival for one reason in particular: the cannolis.

“I always want to get some, but everytime I get over to their stand, they’re gone,” he said.

He and his wife, Donna, who also serves on the committee, mentioned that the festival continually sells out of roast pork and meatball sandwiches, and of course, cannolis. Another coveted food item is the Italian sausage.

“The sausage always goes,” says Martino.“At one time, we had six or seven vendors selling sausage.”

The festival committee has since installed a ruling that, according to its website, the Lions Club is the only vendor allowed to sell sausage to continue the diversity of food served.

Aside from sausage and cannolis, Italian Day has reached a new high in its 23rd year: the event was nominated as the “Best Foodie Event” as part of the Bucks County Courier Times’ “Best of Bucks” contest. Winners won’t be announced until after Sept. 18.

The festival will run from noon until 8 p.m., and the club is still looking for volunteers to help feed the expected 10,000 attendees.

“We are always looking for volunteers, and always looking for new members,” said Martino.

To volunteer at the festival, the committee member of 15 years suggests heading to the Lions Club’s booth, and “just say you want to help.”

The 23rd Annual Italian Day Festival will take place at Bristol Lions Park from noon to 8 p.m. The event is free. For information, email BristolLions@gmail.com.

This article has been updated to correctly state that this year’s celebration is the 33rd annual Italian Day.

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