July brings two Italian festivals to the area that are separated by just one week and only about six miles.

The first one — the 71st Italian-American Festival — kicks off this Thursday at Lock 3 park in downtown Akron and continues through Saturday.

The second — Festa Italiana — runs July 19 through July 21 on Front Street in downtown Cuyahoga Falls' riverfront area.

Do I even need to say that food and music are front and center at both festivals?

Also this week, continuing the international flavor, we bring you news of a new French patisserie — bakery — opening in Tallmadge.

First up, the three-day Italian fest at Lock 3 coming up Thursday.

On the opening day and Friday, it'll run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday it'll be open from noon to 11 p.m. — except if you want to attend the annual scholarship breakfast at 10 a.m.

This year, the Italian-American Festival at Lock 3 will again feature pastries as well as pastas and pizza from Corbos Bakery of Cleveland's Little Italy and DiRusso Italian Sausage of Youngstown, a longtime vendor at Ohio fairs and festivals.

The area's Sicilian-American Women's Club will provide baked cookies, as well as freshly made pizza fritte, which are "Italian elephant ears," said Mark Barbuto, president of the festival's organizing group, the Summit County Council of Italian-American Clubs. Pizza dough is fried and then topped with caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and confectioner's sugar.

The Sons of Italy club will sell meatball subs, grilled sausage sandwiches and pepper and onions.

There won't be any wine contest this year, but there will again be lots of music.

Thursday's lineup includes the Heart tribute band, Straight On, at 8 p.m. The ABBA tribute band ABBA Mania is headlining at 8 p.m. Friday. And on Saturday, the Rat Pack Show, a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., will perform at 8 p.m., followed by a raffle and fireworks at 10 p.m.

Children's activities include inflatables all three days and an animal show. Check it-am.org for times.

A Catholic Mass also will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Andrea Rose Teodosio Memorial 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk will be at 8 a.m. Saturday downtown. Go to runsignup.com for information on this event.

The festival will spill out onto Main Street, and the city is holding off doing construction on this stretch of the street (you know, for that big downtown construction project) until after the event is over.

For more information on the Italian-American Festival, including a complete schedule of music and other events, go to it-am.org.

Festa Italiana in the Falls will run from 5 to 11 p.m. July 19; noon to 11 p.m. July 20, with fireworks at dusk; and noon to 8 p.m. July 21.

A morra tournament (where players guess the total number of fingers revealed by players) will begin at 6:45 p.m. July 20 in the midway.

A Catholic Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. July 21. Among the many activities is grape stomping at 1:30 p.m., also on July 21.

For more information, including the music lineup, go to www.festaitalianacf.com.

More ethnic festivals

As long as we're talking ethnic festivals, here's a quick heads on two others coming up:

• Lebanese Festival, Aug 2-3; Our Lady of the Cedars Church, 507 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Fairlawn. Go to olclebanesefestival.com for more information.

• Shanti Hot Pepper Fest (fundraiser for Shanti Community Farms group that works with local Bhutanese immigrants), 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 17 at Patterson Park in Akron's North Hill neighborhood. Go to the Shanti Community Farms Facebook page for more information.

Home baker sets up shop

A home baker who frequents farmers markets is baking up her own shop — Marie's Patisserie — tentatively set to open at 9 a.m. Aug. 24 at 338 Northeast Ave., off the Tallmadge Circle.

"I think I offer things that many bakeries don't," including croissants, fruit tarts, eclairs, cream pulls and doughnuts, said Marie Kostos of Stow, who previously was a regional sales manager in credit card processing.

Another bakery, Linda's Kitchen, which specializes in cookies and cakes, is about a mile away. It's at 141 Northwest Ave. off the Circle.

Marie's Patisserie's kitchen will be shared with a catering company called Class Act that will deliver boxed lunches to area businesses.

Teaming up with Kostos for the shop is Kevin Keough, who works in advertising. He'll handle the books and Kostos will do the baking.

For more information and to see Kostos' progress in transforming the space in the multi-tenant building at 338 Northeast Avenue into her shop, go to the Marie's Patisserie Facebook page.

Hungarian Club summer picnic

Reminder: The Akron Hungarian American Club will host a summer picnic at 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $2 and you pay for Hungarian eats. Beverages also will be available for sale. The club is at 694 E. Waterloo Road in Akron.

New wine-centric event

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron is hosting a new wine-centric event, Off the Vine: An Evening Pairing of Food & Wine, from 6 to 9 p.m. July 19.

Sixty varieties of wines will be featured, along with tapas-style (small plate) eats. Manor House tours and gardens tours, including the FUSED: Garden Gallery of Art & Metal exhibit, also will be part of the evening.

Acme, Driftwood Catering, Todaro's and a Taste of Excellence catering operations will provide eats, along with Yellow House Cheese, which will set up a cheese station, and Tiffany's Bakery, which will present a dessert station.

Tickets — all inclusive — are $65 and $52 for Stan Hywet members. For tickets and more information, go to stanhywet.org. Stan Hywet is at 714 N. Portage Path in Northwest Akron. Phone is 330-836-5533.

Music and wine festival

The annual Music in the Valley, Folk & Wine Festival will take over Hale Farm & Village in Bath from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Regional modern folk and American musicians will play on the historic Village Green. Ohio vineyards will offer wine and local food trucks will sell food.

The Wine Buzz Magazine, one of the festival's sponsors, will present a wine and cheese pairing seminar at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily.

All regular museum exhibits and demonstrations will be open at the 90-acre facility that showcases historic structures and early American crafts and trades.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Members are free. The wine-tasting ticket is an additional $10 and includes a glass with the festival logo and six wine tastings. Extra tickets are available for tastings and glasses of wine and bottles may be purchased to take home. You pay for food.

Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.

For more information, go to halefarm.org.

Hale Farm is at 2686 Oak Hill Road in Bath.

More wine events:

D'Agnese's Trrattoria on White Pond Italian eatery, 566 White Pond Drive in Akron, will host a Christmas in July — Spanish wine dinner at 6 p.m July 24. Chef Joe Gallagher is teaming up with Vanguard Wines to pair Spanish wines with eats. Cost is $60. To reserve, call 234-678-3612.

The annual Uncorked Medina Wine Festival will run 4-9 p.m. July 19 and 2-9 p.m. July 20 at Medina County Parks' Buffalo Creek Retreat at 8708 Hubbard Valley Road in Seville. The fundraiser for Friends of Medina County Parks will feature local food trucks along with wine and beer tastings.

Vendors will sell engraved wine glasses, jewelry, metal art, home decor, salsas, pastries, sweets and more.

Cost is $25 advance sale and $35 at the door. This admission gets you 10 tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. You pay for food.

For tickets and more information on vendors and entertainment, as well as the Twilight Dinner on July 20, go to www.uncorkedmedina.com.

 

Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook.