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Festa Americana Exemplifies USO Naples' Commitment to Supporting Military Families

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

By Christian Pelusi 

Combining the best of America with the visual splendor of Italy, USO Naples throws its annual Festa Americana with the patriotic flair and pride that would remind any American of Anytown, U.S.A. Just the way USO likes it.

USO Naples and Rome Area Director Sabrina Pullido described the Festa as a county fair-type event that is hosted annually by the Naval Support Activity Naples. Over 5,000 troops and their family members attended the event, which featured entertainment from local and U.S. bands -- this year it was the Orlando, Fla.-based Willy Pete Band -- food vendors, crafts sales, a beer tent, carnival rides, a softball tournament, a "Naples Idol” talent show and, of course, a fireworks finale.

“The concert at Festa Americana, just like the block party that USO Naples hosted two weeks prior, is a great example of community spirit,” Pullido said. “When you are overseas the community is all you have and everyone looks forward to opportunities to get together and make merry. We know it is our job, as the USO, to strive to multiply these opportunities and partner with the command to enhance their events."

The gatherings occur on more than just holidays, with unique offerings like boat rides, tours to neighboring cities and towns, visits to amusement parks and spas.

“Being far from home and missing out on special events and celebrations is never easy,” Pullido said. “USO Naples strives to execute programs that will fill that gap and make the community members feel closer to home. A concert on the Fourth of July, a tour to the Vatican on Christmas Eve or a special Halloween Festival, ensures the troops and families know we have their back.”

Providing these memorable experiences also requires a commitment that USO staff and volunteers around the world understand and embrace.

“Working on holidays is never easy, but when we see the smiles of gratitude on the faces of our sailors, or hear the squeal of happiness from the military kids, then it’s all worth it, because we know we are making a difference."

* Festa Americana is another example of how the USO lifts the spirits of troops and their families. Consider donating today to help make more of these initiatives a reality. 

* Learn more about the USO's Honor, Salute and Celebrate campaign. 

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Photo caption: The Willy Pete Band performs and, below, the band poses with USO staff and volunteers. (Credit: USO) 

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