WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — A lot of noise could be heard at Courthouse Square in Warren. The Warren Italian Festival has a historical game that represents culture, comradery, and competition within the Italian community.
The Warren Italian Festival held its annual bocce ball tournament — a historically rooted game in Italian culture.
Bocce ball has been a staple event at the Italian festival for more than two decades. 24 teams consisting of four to eight players compete in the tournament.
“Coming down here and usually having a crowd of anywhere between 100 and 300 people standing around you it really gets it moving,” said bocce chairman Stephen Ficeti.
The crowd brings energy and the players celebrate their Italian heritage thru fierce competition.
“Competitive isn’t the word, you see some fights out here,” said James Costello of Niles.
Costello is a proud Italian who has been playing bocce ball for more than 45 years. His handmade, colorful shoes show his spirit and love for the game.
Costello loves to see all the different people come out to the event.
“Every year to see the young people come up and pick up the sport, the ladies come up and play well,” said Costello.
Many people participating in the bocce ball tournament tell me this game represents community, comradery and healthy competition.
“The game means a lot: Friendship, comradery, just having a good time,” said Mary Jude Natale-Setting of Warren.
Bocce ball is a fun and inclusive game for all to enjoy.
“Ages from one all the way up to 102 can play and it’s just family-oriented,” said Setting.
The bocce ball tournament will end Sunday afternoon. The winning team will get $1,000.