INDEPENDENCE - The Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival held their most recent festival board meeting on Jan. 19 at Independence City Hall. Festival Board President Reggie Martin called the meeting to order.

Food Booth Committee Chairman Tony Anzalone gave his update report.  

"As of today, we have 11 food booths for the festival. Trailers can come into the festival area for unloading but must be moved to the designated parking place approximately 2 blocks away at the Industrial Park area."  

"Independence High School would like to have the Italian sausage and hot sausage booth, IHS Choir would like to sell strawberry shortcake, Loranger High School wants to sell pastalaya, LHS Football wants fried candy and fried cookies," Anzalone said.  

The festival board voted to approve these food booths for the upcoming festival March 13, 14, and 15th.

LHS Band/Band Boosters' lasagna booth was approved by the festival board at an previous festival board meeting.  

"To answer questions that have come up concerning building rentals during the festival, a business needs to apply for a permit which costs $200 in order to rent a building for festival weekend," Reggie Martin said. "Concerning the" Sicilian Trip for 2 " Raffle, an outside entity will handle the drawing so that anyone from this area can purchase raffle tickets."

Festival board members began the discussion of their need for festival banners to be placed on Hwy 51 and Hwy. 40.  

Our Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Pageant will be announced on the radio and in the newspapers to promote the pageant and festival, said Kim Ragusa Pageant Committee Chair. "Our 13 custom crowns and sashes for royalty have been ordered. We are working on a backdrop for the pageant."

The Fire Department will have the Italian Tea booth, and Tim Ragusa will be cooking jambalaya for the Police Department's booth.  

Discussion began on the upcoming Indy Idol Contest spearheaded by the Independence Chamber of Commerce.

"Mayor Ragusa, we need you to be our judge for our Preliminary Indy Idol Contest," Chamber President Rhonda Crocker said.  It will be February 28, 2009.

"Yes, that will be fine," the mayor responded.

"Cathy LeBlanc gave us approval for the Preliminary Indy Idol Contest to be held on the new Independence Elementary School stage," Crocker said. "Chris Powers is working on being our Master of Ceremonies."

"If you are 15 years or older, talented, and want to sing, come join us. 20 contestants will be picked to continue on in the contest and will perform the first night of the festival that Friday night around with registration beginning at 5:00 p.m . and the contest beginning at 6:00 p.m. By the next day of the festival, March 14, 5 contestants will perform with the winner being announced that night. The Indy Idol winner will perform as the festival's final performance around 1.30 pm Sunday, March 15."     

There will be a Silent Auction on children's art at Independence City Hall spanning all three days of the festival.  

For more information on the Indy Idol Contest, call the Chamber at 878-2050.

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