Winemaking, farming, food and coming together as a community have a long history in the St. James area. Known locally as the Meramec Highlands, many also call the region “Little Italy of the Ozarks” thanks to the establishment of an Italian settlement here more than a century ago.
St. James Winery and Public House Brewing Company are celebrating the area’s Italian heritage at their Little Italy of the Ozarks Festival on Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 at The Gardens in St. James.
“The Italians in this area have made such an impact on our community,” said Peter Hofherr, St. James Winery chairman and CEO. “Growing up surrounded by this history and tradition, I wanted to create a festival to celebrate their cultural contributions. In honor of what the community has done in the past, we are ending the two-day festival with a ticketed traditional Rosati-style spaghetti dinner on Saturday under an outdoor tent where you’ll feel like part of the family.”
They’ll kick off the festivities in the St. James Winery Tasting Room on Friday, May 19 from 5-8 p.m. with the release of their new Winemaker Series. This new line of wines is handmade in small batches by their St. James Winery Cellar Crew. Taste complimentary samples of the first four releases, along with Public House Brewing Company food pairings:
• Chambourcin with Heritage Pasta
• Dry Vignoles with Margherita Pizza
• Seyval with Spring Salad
• The Folly with Pretzel Bites
After tasting the samples, walk over to The Gardens for a 9 p.m. showing of “Under the Tuscan Sun” (PG-13) on their large outdoor screen. The movie features a writer who impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany, Italy in order to change her life.
On Saturday, The Gardens open at 11 a.m. Their wood-fired pizza kitchen and regular kitchen will be open all day, serving made-from-scratch food, craft beer, wine, hard cider, wine slushies and non-alcoholic beverages.
Local youth soccer coach and St. James Winery Executive Winemaker Andrew Meggitt will host a Soccer Tutorial on foot skills for all ages from 2-3 p.m. to celebrate Italy’s most popular sport.
Kansas City band Red Velvet Crush will be performing pop and rock music from 12-3 p.m. Acoustic artist Nicole Nelson from Nashville, Tenn. will perform pop and soulful rock songs with an earthy flair from 5 -8 p.m.
From 5-8 p.m., they’ll recreate the traditional Rosati-style spaghetti dinners with a ticketed dinner under an outdoor tent. For $10, people will receive a heaping portion of spaghetti in a traditional, local-recipe Italian sauce with meatballs, garlic bread sticks, spring salad, slice of cake and a non-alcoholic drink.