Fiera Italiana in Daley Plaza

September 29, 2009 The five-day festival features live entertainment, food and shopping before Columbus Day Parade.

You can get a taste of Italy and experience Chicago's rich Italian-American heritage at the Daley Center next week. The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA) is hosting Fiera Italiana from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, October 5 through Friday, October 9 at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington Ave., Chicago. This free outdoor festival brings food, drink, performing arts, entertainment, fashion and more in celebration of the culture of Italy. The festival is the kick off to the traditional Columbus Day Parade on October 12.

"This year, we have a new addition born from the passion and excitement that drives us," says Jo Ann Serpico, President of the JCCIA. "Fiera Italiana contributes to the character and vitality of our Columbus Day extravaganza."

Fiera Italiana, is an opportunity for the JCCIA along with assistance from area businesses, to share its mission and celebrate Italian American heritage. Live entertainment is planned for each day of the festival during the busy lunch hour between noon and 1 p.m. The midday entertainment kicks off Monday, October 5 with a live fashion show from ZZAZZ Productions under the direction of Italian American, Tracey Tarantino. The high energy fashion show features Italian runway music and professional models showcasing the designs of Italian designers like Paul Sisti and Melissa Serpico.

Musical entertainment at noon throughout the week includes performances by Paul Ciminello and young, up-and-comer singer/songwriter Franco Campanella, plus Paul Miuccio, Tony Spavone, Enzo Incandella and Paul Motondo.

In addition to top performers from the Chicago area, visitors enjoy shopping, wine tasting, culinary demonstrations, dining, artistic showcases and strolling performers on the plaza. Fiera Italiana participating merchants include jewelry designs from Amber Treasures, Carol Akiyama and Maria Marchese. Also prominent during the festival are several local Italian food and beverage vendors including Palermo Bakery, Rex Italian Foods, Massa Italian Café & Gelateria and Suparossa.

Members of the Italian-American parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will participate, and the JCCIA will sell Italian flags, t-shirts and other Italian themed paraphernalia. Members of Italidea will also distribute information about its Italian language instruction courses and school programs. The Italian Cultural Institute and Illinois Department of Human Rights will also hand out information.

Sponsoring the event this year is Italian Steakhouse Gene & Georgetti, Rago Brothers Funeral Homes, Tony's Finer Foods and Turano Baking Company. In addition to being a sponsor partner, Supreme Lobster and Seafood Company is also a featured food vendor at Fiera Italiana. The CEO of Supreme Lobster, Dominic Stramaglia, is the Chairman of this year's Columbus Day Parade.

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans is an independent non-profit association dedicated to preserving Italian American heritage and providing a unified voice for metropolitan Chicago's Italian American community. Founded in 1952, the JCCIA serves as a congress for more than 65 Italian American organizations, as well as a clearinghouse for information about the Chicago area Italian American community. Working alongside the JCCIA are its three divisions: the Women's Division, West Suburban Women's Division and Young Professionals Division.

"The goal of Fiera Italiana is for the JCCIA to showcase the culture of Italy and the Italian American heritage to Chicagoans and visitors of Daley Plaza," says event producer Michelle Durpetti, managing partner of McGowan Durpetti & Associates. "As an Italian American myself, it is an honor to be a part of such a great event that everyone can enjoy."

For more information about Fiera Italiana, visit or call 708-450-9050.

October 5 through 9
Daley Center, Chicago

About the Designers

  • Paul Sisti ( began his fashion career at the Ray Vogue School of Design where he began receiving recognition and awards for his distinctive designs. Sisti's designs fuse art with fashion with a design philosophy of simple elegance. Sisti's pieces are marketed all of the world and he boasts a number of prestigious clientele.
  • Melissa Serpico's SERPCIO collection ( which launched in 2007, is a modern clothing line with an avant-garde designs and bold lines made from pure fabrics sourced from Italy. Serpico is a graduate from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and opened her SERPCIO boutique in Wicker Park last fall.
  • Designs from Paul Sisti:

    Teal Chiffon Puff shirt and tiered chiffon skirt
    Yellow and black ink-splattered puff-sleeve party dress
    Black full length gown with floral embellishment

    Designs from Melissa Serpico

    Black chiffon, half-circled panel cocktail dress
    Taupe halter convertible-ball gown with ruffled details

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