To the Editor:
This year's Italian Festival was both disgraceful and disappointing. Instead of the event being a fun and friendly celebration of Italian ethnic culture and heritage, guests were subjected to vile political propaganda, adults behaving badly, and, quite frankly, some embarrassing entertainment.
Small children who should have been able to enjoy and be educated through the sharing of Italian music and food and celebration were instead overexposed to dozens of “F--- Biden” and “Trump 2024 F--- Your Feelings” t-shirts and hats.
Families with children walking through the crowd had to often endure a gauntlet of profanity-laced political conversations within the cliques of over-intoxicated adults, mostly all of whom were wearing aggressive messaging on political shirts and hats. Some fun, huh.
While I am a rigid proponent of First Amendment rights, displaying items that contain words like “f---” and “b-------” and portray depictions of guns and a cartoon figure urinating on President Biden have no place at an event advertised as “family-friendly.”
This event was friendly only to families who raise their children to believe that hate and divisiveness are what America is about.
Next year, if organizers want to promote the event as “family-friendly,” they need to eliminate the political themes, hate vendors and politicians, and focus on genuine Italian culture and heritage.
Next year, don’t put on a quasi-political rally disguised as an ethnic celebration.