The Italian Festival, Sept. 23-25

Pasta and pizza, popular music and wine, grape stomping and expressive displays recognize the remarkable contributions of a dynamic and artful culture at Seattle Center Festál:  The Italian Festival, Sept. 23-25:  7 p.m.-10 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, in Seattle Center Armory, Fisher Pavilion, Fisher Roof and Seattle Center Pavilion.

A full program of free concerts fills the weekend including performances by Seattle Mandolin Orchestra, Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band, Gino Lucchetti & Nancy Grossi, Italian Men’s Choir of Canada, Vancouver Italian Folk Chorus, Fortissimo! with the Bonnie Birch Band, The Porcaro Group, Mbrascatu, Julie Cascioppo, Bill Halsey & the Italian Orchestra, Primo Basso Band and Danny Quintero. The festival’s Wine Garden offers festival-goers 21 and over the opportunity to relax with a glass of Italian wine while enjoying live music by The Tarantellas, La Mezzanotte Trio and The RigaTones, noon-7 p.m., Saturday, and noon-6 p.m., Sunday.

Tino’s Cortile in Seattle Center Pavilion provides a range of programming designed to delight all ages. Enjoy puppy parades of Italian breeds, complete arts activities and learn to toss pizza dough to form the perfect pie. Olympic Soccer Academy FC offers free soccer classes in an inflatable soccer court, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Carter Family Marionettes from the Northwest Puppet Center presents puppet shows featuring traditional Commedia dell’Arte characters, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Cooking demonstrations by local chefs run every hour on the Great Italian Chefs stage, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday. A marketplace serves pizza, pasta, Italian sausage, salami, focaccia, meatballs, espresso, Italian sodas, gelato and Italian ices.

Other festival attractions include an exhibition honoring Italian-American veterans, grape stomping competitions, bocce tournaments, souvenir shops and a showcase of classic Italian cars, motorcycles and scooters.

Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call 206 684-7200. Learn more about Seattle Center Festál:  The Italian Festival at:  www.festaseattle.com.