Volunteers Prepare For 119th Tontitown Grape Festival

TONTITOWN (KFSM) --  With three weeks to spare, volunteers are starting to prepare the homemade pasta for the 119th annual Tontitown Grape Festival.

Volunteer Jettie Franco said participating in the festival is a way to share a piece of her Italian heritage with her family and the community.

"I think that's what happens in a lot of nationalities, they don't pass down their traditional things and I think that you should always keep some tradition," Franco said. Her husband Roy Franco started volunteering about 83 years ago.

Back then, Roy remembers the festival as a way for local families to connect during Thanksgiving.  "You know its getting to be a big deal you know but back then it was a family deal I mean we just used to all get together and just come together we didn't have all that we have today," Roy said.

Over the next three weeks, volunteers will be meeting at St. Joseph's to prepare 3,000 pounds of handmade pasta for this years event.

"Well it takes an entire two weeks just to make enough for the festival, so today we'll make spaghetti and tonight we'll come up here and lay half of it on linens," festival chair Ryan Pianalto said.

For Pianalto, the weeks of preparation hardly feel like work because he gets to share these moments with family.

"I see four generations of my family in this room at the same time, so I'm a lucky guy," he said.

The festival will start Aug. 1 and end Aug. 5.