To help limit the spread of Coronavirus and to support public health efforts, many family attractions have closed temporarily. In the meantime, we invite our readers to enjoy virtual events highlighted in our Things To Do calendar. When you do go out, follow public health guidelines: wear masks, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. To learn why social distancing is important and effective in lessening the spread of COVID-19, hear from Dr. Alexis Elward, Chief Medical Officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Head to The Hill to Celebrate St. Louis' Italian Heritage This Weekend

I often tease my husband that if I ever write a book, I’m going to call it An American Girl’s Guide to Surviving an Italian Family.  In turn, he – a first generation Sicilian who shares a name with the Godfather – likes to remind me that hot-headed and easily offended Italians are known for leaving the people who cross them to “sleep with the fishes.”  

Okay, so if I know what’s good for me, I may never write that particular literary masterpiece. Or maybe I should remind my husband that we don't actually live in episode of The Sopranos. Either way, the truth remains that when an all-American girl like me marries into a big Italian family, there's going to be a bit of culture shock along the way.
 
“It’s like joining a secret society,” I joked to a friend, when attempting to explain how you have to kiss every single relative and acquaintance hello and good-bye, every single time you see them. If you skip the tradition, you risk offending an entire family – and igniting a feud that could last for decades.
Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but with pasta.

Italian-Americans have A LOT of traditions. In part, I imagine it’s leaving their homeland behind that causes them to cling so tightly to the heritage and customs that keep its memory alive. And though I'll never agree with or understand everything they do, there's a lot to love about being an honorary Italian by marriage.    

I get to eat amazing and authentic foods like spiedini and arancini and mortadella on a regular basis. I’ve been to more than my share of fancy Italian weddings, which are some of the best parties you’ll ever attend. I’ve learned how to make cuccidati (Italian Christmas cookies filled with nuts and figs), and baking them every year has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Best of all, my kids – who are half-Sicilian – are growing up with a tremendous sense of pride in not only the country of their birth, but also their rich Italian heritage.

Here in St. Louis we're lucky to have a thriving Italian-American community, and there are many opportunities for families – Italian or not – to enjoy and celebrate all things red, white, and green. At the St. Louis Columbus Day Parade and Festival this Sunday, for example, kids and adults can head to The Hill neighborhood for an entire day of amazing food, live entertainment, and plenty of family-friendly, Italian-inspired fun.  

The Columbus Day Parade will begin at 12 p.m. at Edwards and Columbia, and proceed down neighborhood streets to end at the Columbus Day Festival in Berra Park. You’ll want to grab a spot along the parade route early, and be sure to bring bags so your kids can collect candy from the floats. To see the full parade route, click here.

Once the Parade is over, don’t miss the Festival’s big draw – the food booths where local restaurants will be dishing up delicious and authentic Italian fare. (Helpful hint: Opt for the arancini. It’s the dish all the real Italians go crazy to get their hands on.)

The Festival runs until 6 p.m. and includes a meatball-eating contest, live music, an appearance from Miss Italian St. Louis, and plenty of games and prizes for all.

Last year there were bounce houses and  inflatables to keep the kids busy, and a playground is also located in the park. If you're looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon outdoors and introduce your family to all the amazing Italian food and culture that St. Louis has to offer, the St. Louis Columbus Day Parade and Festival is an event that's not to be missed.  

But if you're looking to learn more about what it's really like to marry into a big Italian family? Well, maybe I'll have to write that book after all.    

For more information about the St. Louis Columbus Day Parade and Festival, visit www.stlcolumbusday.com.

 

Share This Story

Alyssa Chirco is a freelance writer, mother and margarita lover, not necessarily in that order. In addition to writing for STL Parent, she is Contributing Editor at Parenting Squad, and covers parenting, health and lifestyle topics for publications across the country. She recently moved from the suburbs of St. Louis to a small town in rural Jefferson County, where she is learning to survive with no Target or Starbucks in sight. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaChirco

 

Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
   
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Magic At Home with The Magic House

The Magic House is bringing innovative, hands-on learning to you at home with its #MagicAtHome series of interactive, instructional online presentations. The Magic At Home series of activities includes lots of fun projects that you can make at home with common materials. The easy-to-follow directions mean your kids can make paper sculpture, do shaving cream marble painting, create make-your-own flowers, go "fishin," make TP roll animals, make salad spin art and more.

View this event »
Science @ Home with the Saint Louis Science Center

The Science Louis Science Center is continuing to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning through its online Science @ Home series! Visit the Science Center's web site or social media channels for DIY science experiments that can be done at home, Amazing Science Demonstrations from the Science Center's Energy Stage team, connections to local scientists, astronomy updates from the McDonnell Planetarium, live chats and more. Content is designed for all ages. 

View this event »
Explore Purina Farms: Trainer Tips
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Purina Farms is bringing the best of the farm to your home every week! You can virtually explore Purina Farms through videos featuring the animals, dog trainers and others who work there, as well as the pets who work and play at Purina Farms every day. Each day of the week features videos on a variety of topics including animal connections, training tips and responsible pet care advice for kids. 

View this event »
Explore Purina Farms: Amazing Canines
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Purina Farms is bringing the best of the farm to your home every week! You can virtually explore Purina Farms through videos featuring the animals, dog trainers and others who work there, as well as the pets who work and play at Purina Farms every day. Each day of the week features videos on a variety of topics including animal connections, training tips and responsible pet care advice for kids. 

 

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

Parenting During the Pandemic: Overwhelmed and Exhausted

No, last Saturday I didn’t plant a victory garden or make a sourdough starter. I wasn’t the mom who created movie tickets and set up a concession stand in my house for movie night (seriously, WHICH ONE OF YOU DID THIS and how did word get back to my kids?). I stayed on the couch all day and hissed at anyone who invaded my territory. Like millions of other parents juggling homeschooling and working from home, I’m beat.

Continue reading »
The Magic House, Made for Kids, Sandcastle Beach Will Reopen to the Public, Including Summer Camps

The Magic House has announced it will reopen to the public on June 15, open its St. Louis city satellite location – MADE for Kids – on June 9, and summer camps are proceeding as planned. 

Continue reading »
St. Louis Area Summer Camps, Some Family Attractions to Open In June with New Safety Guidelines

Summer camps in the St. Louis area that have announced they will hold in-person summer sessions are enacting strict safety protocols to help ensure the health of their campers. In addition to limiting enrollment, camps are cancelling field trips, enacting strict cleaning protocols, taking daily temperature and symptom checks, and installilng measures that allow for social distancing.

Continue reading »
Saint Louis Zoo Announces Opening Date for Summer 2020; New Safety Protocols

The Saint Louis Zoo has announced it will reopen Saturday, June 13 with new protocols for visitors, including requiring timed reservations and face masks, and limiting attendance to better allow for social distancing. All Zoo staff will wear face masks and all guests over the age of 9 will be required to wear face masks/face coverings while visiting. 

Continue reading »
Coming Soon: Why the Forest Park Playscape, Opening This Year, Will Be Much More Than a Playground

Since breaking ground on the child-inspired Nature Playscape in Forest Park last summer, Forest Park Forever, the City of St. Louis and their team of partners have been pushing forward on this much-anticipated project at full speed, constructing eight activity areas where your kids will soon splash, climb, build, and learn. Already halfway completed, this one-of-a-kind play area in the heart of the park is destined to grow children’s interest in the natural world around them.

Continue reading »
Follow Us