THUNDER BAY – “Rendezvous with Italy” may be the largest celebration of Italian culture ever seen in Northern Ontario,” says Fort William Historical Park GM Sergio Buonocore. The festival celebrating Italian culture June 11th and 12th took centre stage as the Fort unveiled its summer festival line-up at a media conference.
Rendezvous with Italy features three name acts direct from Italy including Ricchi e Poveri, a trio whose name translates as The Rich and The Poor, Riccardo Fogli, and Nick Celentano. Collectively, these performers have sold over 20 million albums in Europe alone.
“These acts will lend a unique, continental flavour to the festival,” says Mr. Buonocore.
Bocce, soccer, family games and activities plus exhibits of Italian culture will also be happening throughout the weekend that also offers free admission. Several local food vendors will have plenty of Italian cuisine for sale. Both evenings conclude with exciting fireworks displays.
Assisting in the unveiling was Maria LaChimea, Vice Consul, Italian Vice Consulate, Thunder Bay, and The Alpine Choir.
Rendezvous with Italy also features some homegrown entertainers Kenny Shields and Streetheart, Honeymoon Suite, The Powder Blues Band and Doug and the Slugs, to broaden the appeal of the event.
The inspiration for Rendezvous with Italy came from the provincial government last fall when it proclaimed that June would be dedicated to celebrating Italian culture, as a means of paying homage to 1.5 million Italian Canadians living in Ontario and contributions made by the Italian community to the growth and prosperity of the province since the 1880s.
Another novel wrinkle to the festival is that all main-stage action will be seen on two 20-foot Jumbo-trons, says GM Buonocore, so everyone will have a great view.
The Fort also announced Retrofest for June 18th, featuring Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers, The Temptations featuring Dennis Edwards and The Grass Roots.
The Celtic Fair, July 23rd and 24th features fiddling virtuoso, Natalie McMaster, and Bacchanal, an entertainment troupe from Detroit with fire-breathers and stilt-walkers.
The Fort is also celebrating Canada Day July 1st (with free admission), as well as The Great Rendezvous July 9th and 10th, The Fort Under Siege July 30th and 31st, and Anishnawbe Keeshigun August 19th and 21st.
The Fort is also offering camping throughout the entire summer for the first time, along with canoe and kayak rentals and hiking opportunities on “Wilderness Island” situated on the oxbow on the Kam River.
“There will be lots happening at Fort William Historical Park this summer,” says GM Buonocore.