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Preston Street BIA to hold first Starlit Dinner

The event is a celebration of Italy’s own grape harvest and will feature meals from popular eateries in Little Italy.

On Sunday, Preston Street will host an outdoor Italian feast. The event is inspired by the country’s own ‘Vendemmia’, an event that marks and celebrates the end of a harvest.

“We wanted to share Italian culture with the rest of Ottawa and one of the great parts of Italian culture is when they come together to feast and this is very traditional in Italian culture,” says Lori Mellor, the executive director of the Crescent Street Business Improvement Association (BIA), “When you finish the harvest and all the grapes are in, which is Vendemmia, everybody in the village gets together to celebrate the harvest, drink the wine and eat the fresh vedge or fruits or their labour.”

Though this is the BIA’s first time hosting such an event, the idea to extend the comradery of Italian culture to Ottawa came to Mellor years ago.

“This has been a dream of mine for about 15 years and I’m the Irish girl in Little Italy, but sometimes, it’s good to have outside eyes to see what’s so special about a culture,” she says.

The sold-out event will seat 150 guests at a long-table dinner, all of which will dine on a selection of items from nine different restaurants.

“I’m a foodie. I love to sit around the table with my friends and I just thought, what better way to do this than the last day of summer, out on Preston street, under the twinkling tree lights and have a meal—but now I’m afraid it’s going to rain,” she says laughingly.

The dinner will be moved to the Salla San Marco Event and Conference Centre in the event of rain. To ensure the event’s success, the BIA is also enlisting the help of several vendors from the area.

“We’ve got pastries from Pasticeria Galateria Italiana, we’ll drink wine, we’ll get to know our neighbours, we’ll chat. We’re really looking forward to this event,” she says.

Preston Street’s Starlit Dinner will take place on Sunday September 22 at 6:00 p.m., in front of Preston Square. The soiree will have Italian music, grape stomping stations with children from Saint-Anthony’s Soccer Club to help those looking to try their hand at stomping grapes as done in Italy.

A portion of the proceeds made from tickets sold will be donated to Mealshare, an organization that raises funds for other charitable organizations, so that they can provide children in need with meals.

For more information on this event, visit

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