I’ve always been a fan of festivals that celebrate cultural heritage. They guarantee great food, fun music you probably won’t download to your iPod, and a celebration of diverse cultures. These festivals bring us back to simple values and the importance of our ancestry, families, and friendships.

This is the time of year when the summer festivals move into full gear.  Last night we took advantage of dinner out at the Festa! 2009 Italian Festival at Holy Rosary Parish in Ansonia, Connecticut. After a day of gardening and yard work, we were ready to indulge in homemade Italian cuisine.

The festival did not disappoint. Rows of booths displayed signs that called to our hungry bellies:  ziti and meatballs,  pasta e fagioli, porchetta…. My son satisfied his pizza craving with delicious pizza fritta, not greasy like the ones you get in the amusement parks. My daughter and I satisfied our cravings for fried calamari and we all split the giant lasagna, one serving being way too much for me to handle!

My husband couldn’t wait for the desserts. While I opted for good ‘ole gelato, he grabbed an order of zeppole, which we were all too happy to help him finish.

By the time we left the Italian festival the kids were already asking if this foodfest was held every year and if we could come back again. In fact, we’re thinking about surprising them with a trek to the San Gennaro Festival in New York City, taking place September 10- 20, 2009.  That festival holds a special place in our hearts, as my husband and I for many years made it an annual event during the early years of our relationship. Now that our kids are older, we’re looking forward to introducing them to the celebration as well as many other cultural fairs in the years ahead.

While it’s wonderful to travel the world and learn about different cultures first-hand, attending street festivals and cultural fairs in our own backyards is a way to travel with children without needing a passport.