Italian Festival Ball held in Student Union

A night of events filled the Student Union Ballroom as the 2011 Italian Festival season began with the annual Italian Festival Ball. Festival queens from across the state came to Saturday night’s event where the Italian Festival Royalty was presented to commemorate the night and the new Italian Festival season.

Also presented was the new queen of the 2011 Italian Festival, Amy Ferrara from Tickfaw, who is an early childhood education major at Southeastern Louisiana University. Lasting through the night, the celebration was filled with different events, such as a live band and an auction.

The Italian Festival Ball is held before the Italian Festival, which lasts from April 29 to May 1 and is hosted by the Italian Festival Board. The event started at 7 p.m. and lasted until midnight. Phillip Macaluso, the 2010-2011 Italian Festival chairman, and Veda Abene, a board member for the Italian Festival, led the event’s activities.

“It’s just so pretty here,” said Abene, “that’s why I encouraged them to [move it here].”

A buffet including Italian sausage, sandwiches and desserts was offered to the guests. Playing throughout the night, a live band, the Rhythm Kings, performed classics such as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Twist and Shout” and, a crowd favorite, “When the Saints Come Marching In.”

“We also have a live auction and a silent auction,” said Macaluso.

Auctions, both live and silent, were held during the Festival Ball. Prizes such as memorabilia, services, silverware and a large crawfish boiling pot were auctioned silently. A raffle for the several auction prizes was also held, the winners being chosen randomly by Ferrara.

At the center of the evening’s festivities was the presentation of the queen and the Italian Festival royalty, as well as festival queens who travelled from various regions of the state to celebrate Ferrara.

“She is so well liked,” said Abene of Ferrara. “She has done a phenomenal job of representing our festival and the village of Tickfaw.”

Ferrara’s parents, Charlotte and Donny Ferrara, were on hand for the events, and watched their daughter as she was presented as the new Miss Italian Festival Queen. Ferrara was also presented with a $500 scholarship for efforts as queen and the events she has attended across the state.

“We are very, very proud of her,” said Charlotte.

Future events for the Italian Festival include a talent show occurring on April 5, a spaghetti contest on April 16 and a parade through Tickfaw on April 29. For more information on the Italian Festival, contact the Board at their e-mail [email protected]