Everybody’s Italian During Paesano Days


If there’s one thing you can count on at Paesano Days, it’s an abundance of good food. You wouldn’t expect anything else from the Sons of Italy, would you?

Paesano Days returns this Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6, to Anderson River Park. What started out many years ago as just a big picnic has evolved into one of the biggest events of the year for the Shasta Lodge of Sons of Italy in America. It features a big bocce ball tournament, kids games, vendor and craft booths, live music, raffle prizes and, naturally, lots of tasty food.

Last year, Sons of Italy fed more than 1,000 people at the spaghetti dinner, according to Gail Grifantini, an event organizer.

“We expect a big crowd,” Grifantini said. “It’s such a fun event, and Anderson River Park is a perfect location. You could spend the whole day there because the park has so much to do.”

Of course, you’d have to break away from the Italian sausage, cannoli and strawberry shortcake to take advantage of the park’s trails and playgrounds.

Paesano Days starts on Friday with the spaghetti dinner from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Lou White Band will play music for dancing until 10 p.m.

Activities resume at noon on Saturday and continue through 10 p.m. Kids’ games are scheduled for noon to 2 p.m., and the Lou White Band returns at 6. A barbecue chicken dinner is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Grifantini recommends buying tickets for dinner early on Saturday, as it is likely to sell out.

The 36-team bocce tournament actually starts on Thursday this year. In the past, the three-day tournament did not finish until Sunday afternoon, after just about everyone except the clean up crew had gone home. By starting the competition one day earlier, organizers hope Saturday night’s big crowd will stay around to cheer on the bocce finalists.

Raffle prizes include a giant barbecue provided by Carmona’s Appliance Center and dozens of gift baskets. A separate raffle offers an even bigger prize: a 10-day trip to Italy for two people.

“I think the lodge has probably bought up 80 percent of those tickets because a lot of our members still have family over there,” Grifantini said. Still, raffle tickets should be available at the event.

Admission to Paesano Days is free. Dinner tickets will be for sale at the event for $8 on Friday and $10 on Saturday. For more information, send an email to info@reddingsonsofitaly.com.

On today’s A La Carte menu:

Knock off Kanaka Peak … Permit me to further endorse the Kanaka Peak Loop Trail work day, which is scheduled for 8 a.m. this Thursday, August 4, at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The trail has been closed since the Moon Fire, and heavy equipment used to fight the fire obliterated part of the trail and the surrounding vegetation three years ago. Even before that incident, the upper stretch of the trail on the peak’s eastern side was in rough shape because of an earlier fire and erosion. Like other Whiskeytown diehards, I’ll be thrilled to have this trail back.

A Wolf on the prowl … Congrats to Tyler Wolf, a rising young racecar driver from Redding, who captured his first sprint car main event victory last Friday, July 29, at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico. Wolf, who set fast qualifying times for three consecutive races earlier in July, is neck-and-neck in the season points contest with multiple-time track champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn.

Going fast once again … Auto racing returns to Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson this Saturday, August 6, after a two-week hiatus. The Airport Auto Brokers Late Model stock cars, which put on a fine race back in May, headline the event. Racing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Staying on topic … Anyone familiar with the annual kart racing series on the small dirt oval at the Tehama District Fairgrounds in Red Bluff knows of Kyle Larson, who was the racer to beat at a very young age. Now living in Indianapolis, the 19-year-old Larson won two national midget races in the last few days, one on the dirt at U.S. 36 Raceway in Cameron, Missouri, and one on the exceedingly fast paved oval at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis. Clearly headed for the big time, Larson is only one of many successful regional and national racers who took their earliest green flags in Red Bluff.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is a freelance journalist based in Western Shasta County, CA. He may be reached at pauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

Paul Shigley

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.