The first-ever attracted thousands of people to Laguna Niguel for food, fun and community unity on Friday and Saturday.
Visitors enjoyed everything from handmade jewelry to wood-fired pizzas and watched talented chalk artists create sidewalk masterpieces at the El Lazo Park area.
According to Ron Perella, more than 15,000 stopped by to enjoy the festival over the two-day period. "It takes a village to put on a show like La Dolce Vita Italian Festival and the combining of two organizations, made this event a success for the charities that both support."
Mark Snider, president of the Laguna Niguel Lions Club, added that 3 years ago, he had a vision for Laguna Niguel and that it was to have an event that would draw out the community.
"I wanted it to become a something that could last for years," Snider continued. "In the past year, and this past Friday and Saturday, that vision became a reality in no small part to the time and effort given by those who are reading this. Thank you from the bottom of my blistered feet to the top of my sun burned head and my warmed heart."
Sponsored by the Laguna Niguel Lions Club and the Saddleback Valley Lodge Sons of Italy, the festival will split proceeds between the two organizations, which will donate to their charities of choice.