Thousands celebrating tradition and heritage at Italian Fest

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For thousands of people, the annual Italian festival is a time to reconnect with family and friends while wandering down Hertel Ave., enjoying traditional Italian food and learning about the culture.

“Just coming back and seeing people – friends and family you haven’t seen in a year,” said Marco Sciotino, the spokesman for the festival. “Everyone comes back this time of year. People are out of town and come for this. It’s just a great get together.”

Sciotino says it gets bigger and better every year.

“TheItalian festival has always been in our blood,” he said.

As one of the organizers, he is part of the planning group which tries to make things a little different every year.

“As far as tradition is concerned, it’s always food related,” said Chef Marco, laughing as he explains the newest addition for traditions includes Food Truck Alley where around a dozen different food trucks will be parked throughout the weekend. They’re required to add Italian flair to their usual fare.

“Try to evolve and change with the times and stay on top of what’s cool and hip,” said Marco.

They’re also making sure they’re increasing safety during the changing times.

“They’ve [Buffalo Police] put on extra patrols,” said Marco.  “We have our own security firm and they have extra security as well.

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