On celebrating Italy

This week is Italian Fest week. In other words, one of my favorite, exhausting, spectacular family traditions. For as long as I can remember, my family–grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings–comes together as Rome(r), Italy (my mom’s maiden name is Romer). We set up shop in a couple of tents at Marquette Park and spend days spending time together and with friends who pass through.

On Friday, we will serve spaghetti to over 150 friends. We will have a few drinks and listen to music. For us, Friday is an accomplishment and a way to share our good fortune with the people we care about. Greg and I cooked up our quadruple batch of my grandmother’s recipe yesterday afternoon.

Of course, Saturday is the cooking competition. We take turns cooking for that so that no one needs to worry about it every year. We haven’t made the finals in over a decade, but that’s a bit beside the point. It would be fun to win, but it’s also fun to spend time together.

My relationship with the festival has changed over time, but for my entire life, the festival is what my family does the last weekend in May. We spend time together, cook, eat and laugh.

I love it.

And we aren’t even Italian.

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