Farmington farmers market celebrates Italian heritage

Celebrate Italian music, food, language, and culture during the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market’s Italian American Day, held Saturday, September 29 in downtown Farmington.

This marks the second collaboration between the market and the Italian American Club of Livonia; last year’s, held in August, drew more than 5,000 people. Coordinator Gerryanna Luscri said the farmers market, with vendors selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, is a perfect fit for the event.

“Fresh food is a big part of Italian culture,” she said.

Italian Market Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market
Accordionist David Passalacqua leads a procession at the 2017 Italian American Market. (Farmington Farmers Market)

The day begins at 8:50 a.m. at PetValu in the Downtown Farmington Center, with Fr. Kris Nowak of St. Gerald’s Catholic Church offering a blessing for pets, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assissi. Pet owners will receive coupons and treats for their furry friends.

Fr. Nowak will also give a special blessing when the market opens at 9 a.m., followed by a processional with members of the Knights of Columbus. St. Gerald, St. Fabian, and Our Lady of Sorrows churches will have a market booth as well, Luscri said.

Visitors will enjoy music throughout the day. Performers include accordionist David Passalacqua and Francesco Cavallini on mandolin strolling the grounds, and the Amici Band, which will play old and new Italian favorites.

Other activities include:

  • A 10:15 a.m. hand-tossed pizza making demonstration by Luscri’s brother, Anthony Iadipaolo
  • A gnocchi cooking demo with Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse at 11:30 a.m.
  • Bocce for children and adults
  • A children’s tent with Italian language and flag-making activities
  • Farmers Market Bella Cantina, for the 21 and over crowd, serving Peroni beer and red and white wines
  • A raffle with baskets from the Livonia Italian Bakery, with proceeds benefitting the Italian American Club and the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market

Vendors will offer Italian foods: wood-fired pizzas made fresh at the market, fresh pasta served by the Italian American Club of Livonia, and grilled Italian sausage and peppers served by the Farmington Elks Club.

More than 40 vendors will participate in the market, which is decorated for the harvest season with cornstalks, straw bales, pumpkins and dried flowers. Look for farm fresh eggs, locally butchered meat, fresh caught Michigan lake fish, pantry and baked goods, along with Michigan-made artisan products.

A lifelong resident of the Farmington area, Luscri said the activities all represent important parts of Italian culture – faith, food, music, and a special liveliness in the music and dancing.

“We need this,” she said. “We need peace in our community.”

Italian American Day is sponsored by Cantoro Italian Market, Antonio’s Cucina Italiana, Rotondo Construction, EQS Logistics, Villanova Contruction and Tom Holzer Ford. The Farmington Farmers Market, which will be open from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., is free and open to the public, located at the corner of Grove Street and Grand River in the heart of downtown Farmington.

There’s likely to be a larger than usual crowd for this event. Watch for 3-hour time limits in the Downtown Farmington Center and parking lots behind businesses on the north side of Grand River. Free, untimed public parking is available in the following locations:

  • Masonic Lodge, 23715 Farmington Road (access via Oakland Street, due to construction on Farmington Road between Grand River and Oakland)
  • Lots along Orchard Street east of Farmington Road
  • Spaces on Thomas and School Streets
  • Spaces on the south side of Grand River, east of Grove Street
  • Lots on the south side of State Street, west of Farmington Road

Time Limited parking