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Originally published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 7:01 PM

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Salve! It's time for the 25th annual Italian Festival

The Italian Festival, Sept. 29-30; Taste of Italy, Sept. 28; Polish Festival Sept. 30, Seattle Center.

Seattle Times staff

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Italian entertainment, food, cooking demos, wine, cars, dogs, sports and kids' activities will fill the Seattle Center grounds at this weekend's 25th annual Italian Festival.

Munch pizza, pasta, focaccia, gelato and more from Piazza Food Court vendors. Get inspired to create your own at the Great Italian Cooks Cooking Stage with chefs from local restaurants, as well as celebrity chefs "Cooking with Nonna" star Rossela Rago and PBS food personality Nick Stellino. Sample wine and beer at the gardens in Fisher Pavilion, in the food court on the Fisher Roof, and in the Fisher Pavilion Courtyard.

The weekend's entertainment includes music on the Main Stage, a concert and dance with Tony La Stella & the Goombas on Saturday evening and puppet shows by the Carter Family Marionettes. Then there's the ever-popular Grape Stomp, where teams compete to see who can get the most juice from 20 pounds of grapes in four minutes (12:40-4:40 p.m. both days). If you'd like to jump in, you'll have to try next year, since advance registration was required.

Classic Italian vehicles on display will include Ducati motorcycles and scooters, and cars by Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini and Maserati. The bocce tournament on four courts demonstrates Italian lawn bowling (preregistration required). Italian dogs are a new festival feature this year; you can meet Italian greyhounds and exotic Cirnechi dell'Etna, small Sicilian hunting hounds. The kids courtyard includes a bounce house ($2), face painting, entertainment and pizza-toss events.

Festivities officially start Friday at the Taste of Italy event (21 and older, please), where for $30 festivalgoers receive a souvenir wineglass, five tastes from 70 wine choices and Italian antipasti.

Main festival events Saturday and Sunday are all-ages and free.

On Sunday, Seattle Center also hosts the first Polish Festival with exhibits, entertainment, food, cooking demos, beer garden and marketplace in and around the Intiman Theatre.

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or mmckenzie@seattletimes.com

The details

The Italian Festival

Time: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; concert and dance 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: free.

Location: Armory/Center House, Fisher Pavilion, Fisher Green and Seattle Center Pavilion, Seattle.

Taste of Italy: 7-10 p.m. Friday, Armory/Center House; $30 at the door.

More information: 206-684-7200 or www.festaseattle.com.

Polish Festival Seattle

Time: noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: free.

Location: Intiman Theatre and Courtyard, 201 Mercer St., Seattle.

More information: 206-684-7200 or www.polishfestivalseattle.org.

Getting there: Seattle Center directions and parking information, www.seattlecenter.com/transportation/. Sound Transit Link light-rail information, 206-398-5000 or soundtransit.org. Metro Transit information, call 206-553-3000 or see tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/. Seattle Center Monorail, www.seattlemonorail.com.

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