Watertown’s 2021 Bravo Italiano Festival in planning stages, organizers say its ‘likely to happen’


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Get your appetites ready, the Bravo Italiano Festival is likely to return to North Country this year. 

The event that draws thousands to the Watertown fairgrounds arena for fried dough, Italian cookies, pasta, bocce ball and more is now in the planning phases for 2021.

This is following the cancellation of the full event for the first time in the festival’s history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In place, the Italian American Civic Association held Bravo-To-Go which allowed participants to take home their favorite italian food.

But according to Event Chairman Julian Alteri, the festival is “penciled” in to take place at the Fairgrounds in August depending on COVID-19 restrictions closer to the event. However, Alteri shared a new focus organizer are prioritizing.

“This is a 36th year. We really want to keep in mind, well, the younger generation. Transform the event, but also work with the older generation and stay true to our culture and our heritage,” shared Alteri.

New features of the 2021 festival could include a dance, wine tasting, new varieties of entertainment and bringing back the “Run for the Pasta.”

Expressing excitement, Alteri shared his hopes as the Festival starts to take form in a “new era.”

“Whether it happens or not, I think it will. But regardless, we still have to put the planning and the efforts in, because it takes a lot,” stated Alteri. “There’s a lot of community support for this event. We have a lot of wonderful sponsors that step up and help the organization out.

Alteria added, “The goal is to, I think the community has been through so much with this pandemic, that we want to bring everyone together. To just celebrate, you know, as a community.”

The 36th Annual Bravo Italiano Festival is tentatively scheduled for August 2021 at the Watertown Fairground Arena.

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