Festa Italiana Minnesota An Overview:

Festa Italiana Minnesota (FIM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is dependent upon an existing fiduciary model consisting of donations, sponsorships, grants, exhibitor fees, beverage and merchandise sales.
Minnesota, like many states, has a diverse population and a rich mosaic of ethnic groups, which includes Italians. In recent decades a number of ethnic communities have organized festivals celebrating their heritage, (Irish Fair, Rondo Days, Polish Fest, and Cinco de Mayo, etc). To celebrate authentic Italian heritage, it seemed to be natural to examine the possibility of having a Festa Italiana Minnesota (FIM). In mid-summer 2010 planning and structuring began for the first Festa Italiana Minnesota…
Seven years and six “Festa’s” later, FIM has established itself with a variety of educational and Heritage events. Our mission is to preserve, educate and celebrate the Italian and Italian-American culture within the Minnesota region.

FIM’s general structure and personnel consists of a Board of Directors (BOD), an Executive Director (ED), and Core Team (CT). The ED reports directly to the BOD and is also the liaison between the BOD and CT leads.

Meet Team Festa:

Festa Italiana relies COMPLETELY on donors and sponsorships to continue its research, and put on the cultural and educational events.

Festa Italiana Minnesota

Saint Paul MN 55119

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John Andreozzi John Andreozzi
(Former) President Board of Directors
Co-Chair of the Heritage Committee
Core Team Member

Originally from New York State, John came to MN in 1985 to work at the Immigration History Research Center. His mother was born in Marano Principato, Calabria, and his father’s roots are in San Fele, Basilicata and Falvaterra, Lazio. His passion for Italian American history has led him to write two books and a number of articles, as well as organize history and culture displays, and give presentations on Italians in Minnesota, Cumberland and Milwaukee, WI, and his hometown of Lackawanna, NY.

Holding masters degrees in Urban Education, Sociology, and Social Work, John has worked as a community organizer, elementary and high school teacher, instructor for college classes on Sociology and Italian American History, field archivist, genealogy researcher, director of two social service agencies, and therapist at a mental health center. He retired in 2011, but continues to do consultant work in genealogy, the Italian American experience, ethnicity, and labor history.

John is a member of the Italian American Studies Association, and several Italian and genealogy groups in MN and NY, including the Italian American Club and the Italian Cultural Center in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities UNICO Chapter, and the Friends of the Immigration History Research Center. He has traveled to Italy several times and remains in contact with relatives there. His garden provides tomatoes and basil for marinara sauce and bruschetta, and he also enjoys making polenta, pasta, and Calabrese cookies with his wife, and with his four siblings when he visits Lackawanna.


Edward BovaEdward Bova
Executive Director
Core Team Member

As Executive Director, Edward holds an Associate of Arts in Law Enforcement, a Bachelor of Arts in Police Administration, and a Masters of Science in Management. He recently retired from a St. Paul suburban Police Department and currently provides consulting, facilitating, and training services resulting in mission-driven strategies for organizational and personal success, as the founder and owner of Bova CFT Services, LLC.

Like so many, Edward, or Eddie, is a “grandson of Italy,” with his grandparents immigrating from Calabria. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and has 30+ years of law enforcement experience, as well as over 25 years as an instructor, educator, facilitator, and consultant. He has applied this experience through consultative partnership in a number of varied arenas, from college and high school classrooms to regional police academies. He was the 1996 Minnesota Police Officer of the Year (valor), the recipient of the Northwest Youth Family Services “Outstanding Service to Youth Award”, founded the NBPD “Santa-Cop” Program to provide for needy families at Christmas, and is active in many charitable organizations throughout the Twin Cities.


Greg ParianaGreg Pariana
Board Member
Core Team Member
Faith & Charities Chair

Greg has worked as both a direct-hire and as a contract senior business technical analyst. The range of companies encompassing Greg’s history are some of Minnesota’s best: US Bank, BI Worldwide, Target, Cargill, MoneyGram, NCS Pearson, Express Scripts and many others and currently at CieloStar. Greg’s knowledge of how systems function reflects his exposure to the various organizations:  medical institutions and exchanges, finance/banking, retail, pharmaceuticals, training and education and commercial agriculture to name a few.

A graduate of Cretin High School, College of Saint Thomas and Brown Institute, all wonderful places for education, but all institutions have since changed their respective names since Greg has attended. Greg has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Saint Thomas and has won awards in music, art and speaking competitions over these many years since school.

Greg is an enthusiastic supporter of his Italian heritage (both of Greg’s Paternal Grand Parents came from Calabria); this interest has put him into the position of being the President of the Twin Cities Chapter of the national organization UNICO as well as the Controller of Festa Italiana MN, Member of the Board of Directors, Chairman of Faith and Charities for the organization. Greg has three times arranged (with a lot of help from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Saturday afternoon outdoor Catholic Masses with a little Italian tradition thrown in. Greg has also donated three (so far) original pastel oil paintings for the purposes of fund-raising for Festa.


Pat RicciPat Ricci
Core Team Member
Co-Chair of the Heritage Committee

Pat Ricci’s BA in Library Science from the College of St. Catherine and MA in Library Science from the University of Minnesota serve her as Co-Chair of Festa Italiana’s Heritage Committee. She spent 19 years as a Reference Librarian at the James Jerome Hill Reference Library in St. Paul, 10 years as a substitute Reference Librarian at 3M:Company’s Business and Engineering libraries, as well as Honeywell, Pillsbury, U of MN Engineering , and FMC Northern Ordnance Company Libraries.

Pat received : Standards Engineering Society award, as well as Special Libraries Association Engineering Division’s Librarian of the year. She also was adjunct faculty of Cardinal Stritch College and College of St. Catherine. She also taught Special Libraries Association Continuing Education Courses.

Since 1978 (before the Internet), she conducted literature searches using online resources on technical and business topics, assisting customers in finding information (since 1965) in libraries and with online resources and taught information research techniques. She also published guides to Standards organizations and resources in book form and articles.

She put her Reference skill to work in another way when she started doing Family History for her husband’s family and expanded her research to cover all Italians connected to Cumberland, Wisconsin. She recently expanded her research to cover Italians from the Twin Cities area and the Iron Range. This research is available on request only to the members of a family in order to preserve family privacy.

She has volunteered in First Grade classrooms for 11 years and now volunteers with 6-12 month infants. She enjoys playing with them and rocking them for relaxation.

Judy Rulli SochaJudy Rulli Socha
Core Team Member,
Vendor Chair

Judy was raised in the Italian neighborhood along Payne Avenue (Railroad Island). Her grandparents on both sides of the family emigrated from Italy over 100 years ago. She takes great pride in her ethnic roots and credits her parents, family and neighborhood for her love of all things Italian. Judy was one of the founders of Festa Italiana MN, in 2010 but her participation in community activities dates back many years. She was active in the original St. Ambrose Church, has been involved in several Italian organizations, and has spent many years volunteering for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Her job is in the field of marketing and client/customer service.

Dick Forliti

Dick Forliti
Core Team Member

Dick is a member of a well-known and respected family in St. Paul. He is a retired Roseville Fire Chief, and now is the proprietor of Roseville Radio. He has been active in the Italian community all his life, as well as in the general civic life of the city. Dick is a member of the Knights of Columbus and has participated in volunteer work and charity activities, especially coaching and youth athletics.




Ken photo002Ken Giannini
Core Team Member
Marketing and Promotions Chairman

Ken, a 3rd generation Italian American, grew up on the east side of St. Paul, attending Presentation Grade School and Hill High School.  He graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in Journalism.
Ken worked in public relations and marketing for 26 years for the Minnesota State Fair and State Fair Foundation. Following his retirement from the State Fair, he worked as an independent marketing and event planning consultant.  In 2006, he produced Urban Expedition: Italy for the Landmark Center in St. Paul.
Ken is also involved in American Legion Post 39 in North St. Paul.  He serves as Public Relations and Special Events officer; and on the corporate board of directors for the post’s bar and hall.