The 61st annual Italian American Days kicks off this afternoon at 4 o’clock and will continue through 5 p.m. on Memorial Day. The annual four-day festival draws huge crowds to Benld and brags Italian specialties, live bands and carnival rides.
The Italian specialties available over the weekend include homemade salami sandwiches, bagna caulda, Italian beef, meatball sandwiches, tortellini soup, spumoni ice cream, spaghetti and of course, the classic carnival corn dogs, funnel cakes and lemonade shake-ups.
The park will open at 4 p.m. today and Saturday and close at 11:30 p.m. on both nights. It will also be open 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sunday and noon to 5 p.m. on Monday. The unlimited ride wristband for $20 will be sold tonight from 6 to 10 p.m., Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. and then again on Monday from 1 to 5 p.m.
Live bands and dancing will take place on the Friday evening, Saturday evening and all day Sunday. Hicktown will open the stage up tonight from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. The St. Louis metro based group provides high energy shows and plays songs from the top 40 country charts as well as great rock songs from the past. On Saturday evening, Agent 99 will perform tunes from the 80’s, 90’s and todays from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, the biggest day of activity, kicks off at 11 a.m. with free spaghetti until 1:30 p.m. The annual bocce ball contest begins at 1 p.m. and registration begins at noon under the beer tent. Bagna Caulda Combo will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Avery Hill will perform from 3 to 7 p.m. and the legendary Smash Band will rock the stage from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
The full schedule of events can be found here.
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