Best Of 2004

Best Festival: Italian Fest

Festivals abound in the summer months, and you can count on pretty much the same experience at each one: Parades, live music and funnel cakes are universal joys. Why, then, is Collinsville's mid-September Italian Fest so great? Is it the burg's Mayberry-like Main Street, still lined with locally owned and operated businesses and wide sidewalks? Is it the actual Italian person festival organizers fly over from Italy each year just to make the parade more authentic? Is it the Cannery Row of funnel-cake booths operated by civic-pride groups that crowd the concession area, practically guaranteeing one booth for every three people? Yes, yes, most definitely yes! Well, that and the lone standout booth that was selling "Messi Giuseppi's" (think about it) instead of funnel cakes. When you're in Collinsville at midnight with a funnel cake in each hand, watching the Paisan Pedal Push bike ride, it's like being in Napoli in spring: La dolce vita.

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