HILLSBOROUGH, NJ  - Some of the best Italian kitchens in Hillsborough will provide the food for the Oct. 1 UNICO Italian Heritage Festival.

Beginning at 1:30 p.m., the ethnic festival will be held at Mary Mother of God Event Center, 157 Triangle Road.

Entertainment includes live music and a Magic and Comedy Show by Gemini, who has performed at the Borgota Casino in Atlantic City.

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The main attraction will be a variety of Italian food served by several different Hillsborough Italian restaurants, according to Nathan Santaromita of the local Hillsborough UNICO chapter.

Township resident Kimberly Ann Santaromita, a graduate of Hillsborough High School now attending graduate school at Rutgers University and the reigning Miss UNICO Hillsborough will greet visitors.

She will also participate in the line of march during this weekend's Basilone Parade in Raritan, held to commemorate the heroism of Marine John Basilone during World War II on Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.

She is a second-year student at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education and is pursuing her master’s degree in education for grades K through 6; she maintains a 4.0 grade point average.

"I am very proud of my Italian heritage and it is very important to me because it connects me with my grandparents and my father," she said.  "My grandmother was born in Italy in a town near Bari called Palo del Colle. She migrated to the United States when she was only ten years old. My grandfather’s family were originally from Naples and Sicily.  

"While attending Hillsborough High School, I took two years of Italian language classes," she added. "I loved learning Italian and continue to improve my language skills when visiting with my grandmother.  I also traveled to Italy after graduating high school. I enjoyed the beauty and culture of the country and people while visiting areas such as Florence, Venice, Rome, The Vatican and Capri."

While an undergraduate student at Rutgers, obtaining a degree in Psychology with a minor in Education, she graduated with a 3.7 GPA.  She also competed on the Rutgers University Equestrian team for 2 years. 

UNICO National, founded in 1922, is the largest Italian American service organization in America, with local Chapters in 22 states across the country.  Its all-volunteer members work to support charitable, educational, scientific and literary causes while promoting Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping.  For more information visit www.unico.org.

RSVPs received by Sept. 27 are entitled to free admission; afterwards, a $10 donation will apply.

Call (908) 295-4345, or email hillsboroughunico@gmail.com with name and number of people planning to attend.