The thinking behind the first-ever Boston Pizza Festival was actually pretty simple.
"The target market is literally everybody," says co-organizer Giancarlo Natale of Boston. "Pizza makes everybody happy, and if it doesn't make you happy, I can't trust you."
Inspired by childhood trips to Naples, Italy, and the famed Napoli Pizza Village, Natale — along with co-organizer and Casa Mia Cucina Italiana of Marblehead owner Raffaele Scalzi — will be putting on this weekend's celebration, an event he hopes will become an annual tradition.
Two dozen pizza vendors — some from Italy — will set up shop at City Hall Plaza for a festival honoring all aspects of the craft. Here's what you need to know before you go.
When and where?
The festival will be Saturday and Sunday, July 8-9, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Boston City Hall Plaza. "We initially planned on another location, but we reached out to (the city) and explained what we had as a concept, and they thought City Hall was a great centralized location," said Natale.
What's this gonna cost me?
Single-day tickets are currently on sale for $15 at the festival website, but at the door, tickets will be $20. For $50, you can get a VIP ticket, which gets you in an hour early for free samples, access to a VIP area with a private bar as well as preferred seating at the festival's pizza seminars.
Inside the festival, individual slices will start at $2, with whole pies starting at $6. Beer and wine will go for $6.
Regina Pizzeria, Charcoal Guido's, Antico Forno, Bricco & Quattro, Lincoln Tavern, Monument, Mast', Reach for the Pie, The Upper Crust Pizzeria, Bertucci's, Rina's Pizzeria, Locale, Fiamma Bella, Babbo Pizzeria & Enoteca, Serafina, Casa Mia Cucina Italiana, Wicked Cheesy, Oath Craft Pizza, Blaze Pizza, Cafe Quattro, Anzio's, Da Peppe e Figli, Ribalta, Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. With the exception of a couple representatives from Italy, all of the shops are based in New England.
Santarpio's, Otto, Area Four, Max and Leo's, Stoked Pizza Co., Picco, Posto, The Salty Pig.
The festival will feature multiple vendors straight from Italy, Natale said. Da Peppe e Figli and Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana are both from Naples. Casa Mia Cucina Italiana will be sponsoring two pizzamakers from Italy, as well.
Other than the food...
Aside from pizza, the two-day event will include live pizza-making demos, a dough-making class for kids, and a pizza-tossing acrobat (yes, that's a real thing, involving high-flying pizza dough). Pasquale Cozzolino, author of "The Pizza Diet," will also be on hand, as will members of the US Pizza Team (again, a real thing), a group of pizzamakers who travel the country taking part in pizza-related competitions.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 8,000 presale tickets had been sold, according to Natale, and organizers are anticipating over 15,000 people.