The Italian Festival, Sept. 28-29

Live performances, audio-visual arts, foods, hands-on activities, games and a lively marketplace explore the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Italy and Italian-Americans in the Pacific Northwest at Seattle Center Festál: The Italian Festival, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29, in Seattle Center Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion.

The Italian Festival, a “celebration of all things Italian,” offers Sicilian puppet theatre, Italian films, a grape-stomping contest and a bocce ball tournament to honor the “old country.” In 2013, the festival features:

Italian Dog Show:  many Italian breeds including Italian Greyhounds, Spinoi Italiani, Cirneci dell’Etna and Lagotti Romagnoli participate in “Puppy Parades” 12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. each day in the Kid’s Courtyard.

Great Italian Chefs:  Maria Liberati, author of “The Basic Art of Italian Cooking,” leads a line-up of chefs that includes notable local chefs from Seattle’s best Italian restaurants. Liberati appears 3 p.m. each day in the outdoor piazza. More information at:  Festas Seattle – chefs.

Free Concert & Dance:  Mbrascatu, a five-piece, Italian-inspired world-music group from Portland, Ore., leads an all-ages concert and dance, 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Opening the show are local favorites Tony LaStella & the Goombas. More information at: Festa Seattle.

Lewis… A Man, A Hero, Book Reading and Signing:  Author Franco Lovato tells the story of a local Italian-American who died in Vietnam in 1966 as he freed his platoon from sniper fire, 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, in the Armory.

Dante’s Inferno – The Ballet:  Burmer Music presents Dante Alighieri’s classic journey through the nine levels of Hell in a sneak preview of a dramatic new ballet, 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Italian Festival is produced in partnership with Festa Italiana. For more information on The Italian Festival, visit Festaseattle.com. Click on Seattlecenter.com or call 206 684-7200 to learn more about Seattle Center Festál and other outstanding public programming offered at Seattle Center.