Via Italia Goes All Out for Carrousel of the Nations Once Again This Year

(Stephanie Kirst moments after being crowned Miss Via Italia 2019 during a pageant held at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County’s 44th annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village on opening night in Windsor, Ontario, Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)

For many of the stops on Windsor’s Carrousel of the Nations, the organizations involved set up tents. Not Via Italia. It actually closes Erie Street, from Howard Ave. to Parent, and sets out a wonderful three-day celebration in which its Italian Village includes the street’s many outstanding restaurants, all with Italian cuisine. To that it throws in highly diverse entertainment.

Bacchus Restaurant during the Carrousel of The Nations

Bacchus Restaurant, with its spectacular facade now a part of Erie Street, was busy all evening serving guests on their outdoor patio, during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

One of the spectacular elements of opening night is the crowning of Miss Via Italia. This year seven highly accomplished young women took on the challenge of competing in the contest’s four sections, causal wear, evening wear, a general question session, in which the contestants explain why they should wear the crown and then a unique question.

Miss Via Italia 2019 Judging Panel

Judging panel deciding who will be crowned Miss Via Italia during the pageant held at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County’s 44th annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

In the end, with masters of ceremonies Sonny Borrelli and 2018 Miss Via Italia Carolina Miceli keeping the suspense high, Stephanie Kirst was proudly awarded the title. She tells Eyes On Windsor the win was a complete shock but anticipates a year of being able to honour her heritage and promote Via Italia.

Members of Voce Ciociari

Members of Voce Ciociari gather in advance of singing the Canadian and Italian national anthems for the official opening of the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

The formalities commenced at 6pm with members of Voce Ciociari singing Oh Canada and the Italian National anthem to officially open the village. The choir has been bringing its brand of unique Italian language harmony to various events for the past 20 years. Greetings from Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and Councillor Rino Bortolin followed.

Voce Cioiari’s members singing the Italian National Anthem

Voce Cioiari’s members singing the Italian National Anthem during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village opening ceremonies in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Mayor Drew Dilkens and Councilor Rino Bortolin

City of Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens (left) and Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin bring greetings from the city to help officially open the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Along Erie a number of organizations had set booths. To show how contemporary the Village is, this included Web Geeks which featured a contest, with chocolate as its prize, and information on digital marketing. Real estate agents Danielle Lunetta and Trista Anderson also had a highly popular display accentuated with free pink cotton candy and fresh popped popcorn.

Sean Pervin and Julianne Toledo of Web Geeks

Sean Pervin and Julianne Toledo of Web Geeks were on hand to discuss digital marketing strategy during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Real estate agents Danielle Lunetta and Trista Anderson

Real estate agents Danielle Lunetta (left) and Trista Anderson were popular as they passed out pink cotton candy and fresh popped popcorn during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

A large contingent of Italian automobiles were on hand for inspection including a number of Alfa Romeo 4C Spider roadsters and a Stelvio SUV along with an Abarth and a Fiat roadster. The 4C Alfa Romero, sold by Alfa Romeo of Windsor, has a manufacturer’s sticker price of $78,845.

Aihong Tao looking at Alfa Romeo vehicles

Aihong Tao enjoying taking a close look at a the Alfa Romeo vehicles on display during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

The two ends of the street featured separate live music tents. In the east tent, for the first time in their careers, local musicians Mark Chichkan and Mark Underwood worked together as a duo. In the west tent one of the region’s best blues bands, the 519, brought the house down with its style of original music and popular tunes.

Musicians Mark Chichkan and Mark Underwood

For the first time in their careers, local musicians Mark Chichkan (left) and Mark Underwood perform together as a duo during the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County’s 44th annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Saxophonist Dave Belch, member of the 519 Band

Saxophonist Dave Belch performing with the 519 Band during the Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

519 Band

Harmonica player Giles Provost (left), lead singer Jamie Thompson and lead guitarist Ryan Thompson bring the high energy music peformance of the 519 Band to the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

519 Band bassist Rob Balint, drummer John Zuliani and keyboardist Brian Jones

The 519 Band’s bassist Rob Balint, drummer John Zuliani and keyboardist Brian Jones performing during the Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Throughout the weekend, the Italian Village will feature spaghetti eating contests. In this unique challenge, the participants have no knifes or forks or spoons. Even their hands are behind their backs. Friday night’s winner, Amherstburg deputy mayor Leo Meloche, told the audience he won with a strategy of just “sucking it back.”

Spaghetti eating contest participants during the Via Italia Carrousel of the Nations celebration.

Celebrity guests, from left Amherstburg deputy mayor Leo Meloche, Windsor Ward 3 Councilor Rino Bortolin, Amherstburg parks director Phil Roberts and the Multi-cultural Council’s Natasha Feghali participate in a Spaghetti eating contest during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Wandering the street were guitarist and accordionist cousins Rocky Ieraci and Rocky Ieraci. They were both named after the same family member.

Rocky Ieraci and Rocky Ieraci a music duo performing during the Via Italia Italian Village

Cousins Rocky Ieraci and Rocky Ieraci (both with the same name) wander the street serenading guests while playing their guitar and accordian during the annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

A unique display was set up by Leo Silvestri, of the Monarch Butterfly Enthusiasts of Windsor/Essex County. He showed how butterflies use the Milkweed plant as they transform from caterpillars. He also offers milkweed seeds to those who wish to help the Monarchs.

Leo Silvestri at the Via Italia Village

Leo Silvestri, of the Monarch Butterfly Enthusiasts of Windsor/Essex County, raising awareness of the need to plant milkweed to help butterflies at his booth during the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County’s 44th annual Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

Youth kicking soccer balls during the Carrousel of the Nations Via Italia Italian Village

Young soccer players testing their skills at hitting a target during in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, June 21, 2019. Photo by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.

The Italian Village will resume Saturday, June 22, running from 3pm to 10pm. Sunday’s hours will be from 1pm to 9pm.

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Robert Tuomi

Article by Robert Tuomi

For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.