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Eat, drink and dream of Italy at the first Italian Festival of Arizona

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If you happen upon Scottsdale's SouthBridge on April 4 or 5, 2014, you might think you've landed in Italy. SouthBridge will become an Italian piazza filled with Italian music, wine tasting and great food during the first ever Italian Festival. You can also find a selection of exhibits offering hand-crafted items and products. Ever wondered how to make your own pasta? Find out during the Italian Festival at one of the demos and be sure to catch the pizza cook-off.

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This first-of-its-kind event in Arizona is sponsored by the Italian Association, a local non-political organization open to the Italian and American Community of Arizona. Friday's event is from 4 to 10 p.m. Scottsdale's Mayor Jim Lane kicks off the event at 4 p.m. The Phoenix Opera will be performing live throughout the evening. Vocalist Monte Procopio performs at 6 p.m.

Saturday's festivities are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with more live music by the Phoenix Opera. Saxophone player Jerry Donato performs at 6 p.m.

Restaurants and shops from across the Valley will be on hand to offer Italian bites, Italian wines, trips to Italy and some Italian products. Restaurants and vendors include:

The Italian Festival is a family event. Admission is $10 (which includes a souvenir of the first Italian Festival of Arizona). Children under 10 are free.

SouthBridge is located at the Scottsdale Waterfront in Old Town, at 7135 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. There is plenty of free parking in the garages off Camelback Road.

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