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Arkansas is home to a number of food and wine festivals. And later this month, a new festival will be added to the lineup. The first Arkansas Italian Food and Culture Festival, will be held in Riverfront Park, North Little Rock, April 20-21.

The festival will kick off with an Italian Film Spotlight and VIP Reception, 5:30-10 p.m. April 19 at The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The event will include Italian cuisine and specialty drinks over a double feature of Moonstruck and I Sopravvissuti. Seats are $25 each and must be reserved by April 18.

VIP Dinners, 5:30 p.m. April 20 and April 21 will feature perfectly matched pairings of Italian cuisine prepared by Ristorante Capeo and wines by Banfi. Each night’s menu will differ slightly. Tickets are $100 per person.

The festival will have an array of wine tasting opportunities for attendees — sparkling, sweet, refreshing and of course those robust Italian reds we always enjoy. During the daytime events you will be able to sample Chianti, Lambrusco and Prosecco and offerings from local winery from our own Little Italy community in eastern Perry County.

Other festival activities include an Italian car show, youth and adult soccer tournaments, bocce in the park, entertainment, celebrity and kids grape stomping competition, cooking lessons and workshops, kids zone and a best sauce cooking competition. And for the drink and food lovers, yes, there will be a plethora of everything Italian!

General admission to the festival is $5. All proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas.

For complete schedule of events and ticket information for the VIP events, visit aritalianfestival.com