Gigantic custom-built porchetta roaster will feed the masses at weekend Italian Festival (2024)

‘Nothing compares to this’: Local welder Carmen Cavaliere excited to debut his 1,000-pound state-of-the-art cooking creation at this year's Giovanni’s Italian Festival

It’s go big or go home at this weekend’s Giovanni’s Italian Festival as a sizeable addition to the annual event is expected to have every attendee talking.

Carmen Cavaliere, a locally renowned welder and fabricator, recently put the finishing touches on a gigantic custom-built porchetta roaster.

But this isn’t your everyday roaster.

“It weighs much more than 1,000 pounds,” he told SooToday. “Nothing compares to this. I don’t even know how many hours it took to build.”

Engineered and designed specifically for a large event like the upcoming festival, the roaster can hold up to 200 pounds of pork. The cook time is between five to six hours at roughly 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

“A lot of people are going to be looking at this thing, so we had to do a good job,” he said. “It was a nice challenge to showcase some of the talent we can do.”

The owner of Cavaliere Welding began working on the massive piece of machinery back in May with a former colleague of his from Algoma Steel.

To suggest the process was meticulous would be a heavyunderstatement — almost as heavy as the roaster.

“There’s nothing to compare to what you’re building, so there’s a lot of trial and error,” he said. “We drew out I don’t know how many different designs before I even started ordering materials.”

“The big stuff, like to make the actual top and bottom, is easy,” he added. “But the little things and the rest of it take all the time.”

The piece of machinery includes a number of safety features, several ventilation points, as well as a pair of attached worktables.

SooToday got an up-close look of the roaster on Wednesday, just several days before it’s set to make its highly anticipated debut at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion.

Cavaliere said his late father Dominic had a long history of hosting large family gatherings while keeping a number of Italian traditions alive.

He’s excited to continue that legacy through this new and innovative form of craftsmanship with his relatives at Giovanni’s, including owner Serge Cavaliere and Tony Cavaliere, who posed for photos with the roaster on Wednesday.

“It’s all about family,” Carm said. “Our traditions and cultures are dying so fast, but we have the best food in the world. This is going to be magical.”

Residents can see the gigantic porchetta roaster in action and taste its creations when Giovanni’s Italian Festival returns to the Roberta Bondar Pavilion on July 6 and 7.

Full details of the festival are below:

The 2024 Giovanni's Italian Festival is poised to be an unparalleled celebration of Italian culture, heritage, and community spirit, expanding into an ambitious two-day extravaganza on July 6th and 7th. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Sault Ste. Marie, this festival is dedicated to bringing together the best of Italian tradition and contemporary entertainment, making it the most anticipated event of the summer.

For the first time in its history, the festival will commence with a grand opening ceremony that promises to captivate attendees with its pageantry and spectacle, setting the tone for the festivities to come. Following the ceremony, the first night will be headlined by a yet-to-be-named concert featuring top-tier musical talent, guaranteed to bring the energy and passion of Italy to our stage.

Throughout the two days, the festival grounds will be alive with a rich tapestry of activities and performances designed to appeal to all ages. Attendees can look forward to authentic Italian cuisine served by local and visiting chefs, showcasing the depth and diversity of Italy's culinary landscape. Artisans and vendors will fill the marketplace, offering handcrafted goods and Italian specialties, inviting festival-goers to take a piece of the culture home.

In addition to musical performances by both local artists and international acts, the festival will feature cultural exhibitions, interactive workshops, and live demonstrations, offering immersive experiences that celebrate Italy's artistic and historical contributions. The Coppa Giovanni Soccer Tournament will also return, bringing thrilling sports action and community competition to the festivities.

Family-friendly activities, including storytelling, games, and crafts, will ensure that even the youngest attendees can explore and enjoy Italian culture. As night falls, the festival will glow with light installations and impromptu performances, creating a magical atmosphere that blends tradition with innovation.

The 2024 Giovanni's Italian Festival is more than an event; it's a community coming together to honour its roots while embracing a future of shared experiences and lasting memories. With a commitment to authenticity, inclusivity, and celebration, the festival invites everyone to join in this remarkable journey to the heart of Italian culture. Get ready to experience the passion, the flavour, and the joy of Italy, right here in Sault Ste. Marie.

Gigantic custom-built porchetta roaster will feed the masses at weekend Italian Festival (2024)
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