Little Italy Festa

When: October 13, 2013
Time: 10am to 6pm
Where: India Street between
Ash and Grape Streets
Little Italy, San Diego, CA (map)
Phone: (619) 233-3898
More info: Event website

Little Italy Festa Highlights

Fall travelers seeking a culturally rich destination are encouraged to plan a trip to the hip and historic Little Italy district of San Diego. Experience Italian culture, food and fun as the Little Italy


Attracting over 120,000 people, Little Italy’s FESTA! features tasty Italian cuisine, traditional and modern Italian music, arts and activities for all ages, and many other event features. With over 150 food, art and retail vendors, the Little Italy community transforms into a cultural Italian escape for both locals and visitors.


Little Italy Festa

Festa highlights include:

  • Italian food served al fresco throughout the neighborhood reflecting a wide variety of specialties
  • Music on 3 stages featuring the familiar and the new
  • Cooking demonstrations/contests
  • Historical installation highlighting Italian-American culture in San Diego’s Little Italy
  • Gesso Italiano chalk art painting before your eyes
  • Chalk art for kids
  • Kids Fun Zone with inflatables, face painting, balloon art
  • Italian Motor Sports Exhibit featuring cars and motorbikes


Attendees of this year’s FESTA! will find themselves completely immersed in Italian culture. There will be a host of Italian food choices including popular restaurants and vendor booths, as well as tastes from the festival’s “Italian Table” stage which will feature chef demonstrations on how to prepare classic and contemporary Italian dishes. Three stages of entertainment will set the tone with an array of ethnic music. For those 21 and up, LIA will present a beer and wine garden featuring Italian and local favorite brews.

One of the most highly anticipated elements of event is the chalk art at “Gesso Italiano.” Gesso Italiano brings more than 160 artists and teams together from across the nation to create colorful works of art using chalk as their medium and the city streets as their canvas. This year’s theme for these amazing chalk paintings is “Regions of Italy”. This special art experience is authentically based on the traditional art form originating in Italy. The artwork takes two days to complete, and it’s available for viewing only during the FESTA! weekend, as the city streets will be washed at the end of the event.


Guests are also encouraged to take a seat and cheer on the Italian stickball exhibition game, where players show off their skill and pride for the classic sport. A bocce ball tournament, a game with roots dating all the way back to the Roman Empire, will take place throughout the day. An interactive children’s area filled with hands-on activities for kids makes Little Italy FESTA! a true family event.

“The heritage of Little Italy FESTA! means a great deal to all,” said Steven Galasso, president of LIA. “Whether it’s your first visit to experience FESTA! or you haven’t missed it since its beginnings 18 years ago, get ready to fall in love with the spirit of Italy!”


1) Check out the creation of the Gesso Italian chalk drawing as the artists get started on their works of art on Saturday, Oct. 13, the day before the big event. The eve of the event brings enthusiasm to the whole neighborhood and creates an opportunity to get a feel for the community from a local’s perspective.


2) Visit the chef’s demonstration table for a chance to learn how to cook Italian dishes by some of the top Italian chefs.


3) Bring cash. Many of the vendor booths have reasonably priced Italian food such as calamari, arancini, meatballs, panini, pasta, pizza and more. These booths are typically cash-only.


4) Take a seat. Take some time to rest in-between visits to all the event destinations. Areas for seating are spread throughout the event and make a terrific place to dine, sip espresso, enjoy gelato and listen to any one of the variety of musical venues.


5) All of the local restaurants will be open and overflowing. Attendees are encouraged to make reservations early to secure a table during the event.

Little Italy FESTA! serves as a fundraiser for the continued beautification, safety and development of the community. There will be chances for attendees to bid on exciting raffle items with donations supporting the LIA.