Skip to content

Thinking of the Little Italy Festival

August 30, 2017


Thinking of Indiana on Labor Day Weekend


One of the times when I do become somewhat homesick for my Hoosier homeland is Memorial Day weekend as I await to shed a few tears during the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the opening ceremonies of the Indianapolis 500.  Another one of those times when I long to be in Indiana is Labor Day weekend for Clinton’s Little Italy Festival.  Unfortunately, I will be unable to be at the festival this year.  Much to my amazement, this year’s festival coincides with the marking of the onset of my senior year at Clinton High School–fifty years ago!  Thus, thinking of the festival places, events, and food which I have so enjoyed in previous years, as well as the fifty years since the CHS Class of ’68 began its senior year, I was inspired to write the following prose poem which is creative nonfiction.  The “creative nonfiction” comes into play in just a couple of spots in the poem.  For example, although the authentic gondola is still a part of the Little Italy Festival parade, one can no longer take a ride in the festival’s gondola on the Wabash River.


After the poem, you will find a brief announcement which I posted last week on my author’s web page:

I hope you like this poem as much as my critique group did.



Fifty Years later, Meet Me


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Once again, fifty years later,

meet me

at the Little Italy Festival.

This time,

follow the green, white, and red lines

down Ninth Street,

and meet me

at Immigrant Square,

west of the Coal Fountain,

in the striped shadows of the twenty-six flags

which represent countries

from where Clinton area residents

have immigrated.


Meet me

in front of the statue of the immigrant


with his one hand waving

and his other hand

holding a valise.


Meet me

by the drinking fountain

called “Il Toro”–

the Bull–

like Luigi,

crafted near my ancestral home,

in Torino.


Then, we will go

to the riverfront,

down the terraced banks

where Joe Airola

nurtured his grapevines.

On the Wabash River,

we will ride

in an authentic gondola.


Returning from our taste of Venezia,

we will eat spumoni

as we sit beside

the Quattro Stagioni Fountain,

listen to music of the main stage,

and absorb the chatter of festival-goers.


Back to Ninth Street,

we will tour the Little Italian House,

Il Mercato, and the Wine Museum

where you can buy my book.

Then, in the Wine Garden,

we can sit

under lush Grapevines and Hoosier stars,

sip Chianti,

listen to a polka band,

talk of old times

and fresh tomorrows.


Don’t be concerned:

at Immigrant Square,

in the midst of the crowd,

you will recognize me:

I will be the one

with the Black Labrador

guide dog.

Meet us.



Special Announcement:


My Book Will Be Sold


at the Little Italy Festival


(Clinton, Indiana)



I am very pleased to announce that print copies of my book The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season will be sold at the 2017 Little Italy Festival (Clinton, Indiana).  During the four days of Labor Day weekend, my book will be available at four locations at the festival.  From September 1 through September 4, you will have the opportunity to purchase my book at the gift shop in the Wine Museum and in El Mercato.  (Both of these buildings are on Ninth Street, near the Wine Garden.)  On the main festival grounds, throughout the Labor Day weekend, my book will be sold at the official souvenir booth of LIFT (Little Italy Festival Town).  On only the Saturday of the festival, my book will be available at the Clinton Public Library, during the special genealogy exhibit.


To learn more about the Little Italy Festival which has taken place each year since 1966, you may visit one of the following:


Grazie to LIFT for selling my book during this year’s Little Italy Festival!

Also, special thanks to Clinton resident and longtime LIFT volunteer Mary Fornero for facilitating this opportunity for my book!



Best Wishes for a sunny and happy Labor Day weekend!

Alice Massa and Leader Dog Willow


August 30, 2017, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Carole permalink

    Thanks, Alice, for the festival tribute! Yes, this time of year brings multiple memories of the efforts involved from which community members and visitors could enjoy over the Labor Day weekend. The Coal Town Museum, which you extended a blog tribute in August 2013, is another popular site for the history of the area. Among many, many fond memories of the 36 years that I participated with the festival preparation, work, and pleasure, the baking of hundreds of Italian Cream Cakes through the years will long be remembered.
    Congratulations on the making of a new festival memory in your honor!
    The Morgans

    • Carole and Tim–Thanks for adding your comment to this blog post!  Although you have become Florida residents, your thousands of hours of volunteer work for the Little Italy Festival and other Clinton community efforts should definitely be long remembered and greatly appreciated.

      Take care and Happy Labor Day weekend–Alice and Willow

  2. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–Thanks for the virtual tour of the Clinton festival. Hope you and Willow enjoy Labor Day even if you will not attend the events in person and leader dog this year. I found it amazing that this area has such a diversity of immigrants. It is so nice that they are honored with the flag displayed–Sue

    • Sue–Thanks for your comment!  I hope that all is going well for you.

      More soon!  Enjoy the Labor Day weekend–Alice and Willow

  3. mfanyo permalink

    Thanks for your vivid memories of the Little Italy Festival, Alice! I briefly attended the Festival just two years ago and found that the friendly, small town atmosphere had not changed from that of the early festivals held many years ago. How wonderful to celebrate and cherish our Italian heritage through this special community event! I hope that you, Willow, and I can enjoy the music and foods of the festival in the near future.
    Love, Mary

  4. Alice, once again you have managed to take me along your journey. It’s amazing how your crafted word can mimick so many things in such a way that hardly a difference is noticed between the here, and then. I don’t know what else to say, except bravo on another stunning poem. Thank you, and good luck with your book offerings to the festivities of a weekend in Indiana. dp

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: