BLOOMFIELD LITTLE ITALY DAYS—August 18 – 21, Bloomfield.
Ah, Bloomfield. Only in Bloomfield does a summer festival begin with a free concert and a celebrity bocce tournament (Irish vs. Italian local celebrities). This East End neighborhood is known for many things. Long ago, it was home to native people affiliated with the Lenni Lenape. Johnny Unitas played quarterback for the semipro Bloomfield Rams before his storied career in the NFL. In springtime, runners laboring through mile 22 of the Pittsburgh Marathon get an astounding energy blast when they find Bloomfield’s main street lined with screaming spectators and blazing rock bands. And in mid-August the blast is called Bloomfield Little Italy Days. Immigrants from Italy’s Abruzzo region began to arrive around 1900. Their descendants have given Bloomfield great Italian food markets, an active Catholic parish … and a locale that’s now blooming with modern art galleries, eateries of multiple ethnicities, and more. Musical acts at Little Italy Days range from rock to oldies to opera to hip-hop. Entertainment Highlights include the nation’s no. 1 Earth, Wind & Fire tribute band—Let’s Groove Tonight, Billy the Kid, Magic Moments, John Vento’s Italian Invasion, Billy Mancini, John Lupone, Tony Guarino, Lenny Collini, and Ugly Blondes. There’s also accordionist Hank Edwardo; celebratory urban street life scenes; and bocce balls being bowled. And did we mention the food? 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 18; noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 19 – 20; and noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 21. Along Liberty Ave. and elsewhere in Bloomfield. (M.V., R.H.)