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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Italian American Heritage Festival of Iowa is focusing on the regions of Veneto and Sicily this year.

For the last eight years, the cultural hall at the festival educates people on different regions by foods, clothing, and crafts.

A few chefs will be cooking up foods from both Veneto and Sicily, so people can experience the different tastes.

Executive Director of the Italian Multi-Cultural Center of Iowa, Patricia Civitate said there will be unique items from parts of Italy.

“From Sicily we do have some puppets, marionettes, that a friend of mine purchase back in 1983 when we made our first trip and she donated them to the cultural center,” Civitate said.

People are able to research history and see where his or her ancestors come from, and if they have any Italian background.

Civitate has volunteered for the festival since she was a little girl. She loves meeting new people every year and talking about her background.

“I find it really exciting and exhilarating because so many people have a misconception of the country and of the people, and then you sit down and you talk and to me it’s just a lot of fun,” Civitate said.

Admission is free before 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with a donation to the Food Bank of Iowa. After 5 p.m., it will cost $5 for adults and children 12 years or older.

The event is at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines.

Hours of operation:

Friday 11 a.m.- Saturday 1 a.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. – Sunday 1 a.m.