Society of Italian American Businessmen to host annual Bocce Tournament & Family Picnic, Oct. 1-2


SIAB to announce debut of The Maryland Italian Festival, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Society of Italian American Businessmen (SIAB) will kick off the organization’s annual Bocce Tournament & Family Picnic benefiting the Special Olympics and officially announce the inaugural 2023 Maryland Italian Festival, which will take place at the same location, the Harford County Equestrian Center at 608 N. Tollgate Road in Bel Air, next year.

The Bocce Tournament & Family Picnic will be held from noon to 7 p.m. both days and is open to the public. Saturday, Oct. 1, will feature the public tournament, with the Special Olympics tournament taking place Sunday, Oct. 2. The public is invited to enjoy the bocce games, live entertainment, food, beer, wine and an espresso and coffee bar. Guests can also purchase imported Italian ceramics from an on-site vendor.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, SIAB representatives will officially announce the debut of the largest event in the organization’s history to date: the three-day Maryland Italian Festival, scheduled for Sept. 29 through Oct. 1, 2023. This event, the largest Italian festival in Maryland, celebrates the beginning of National Italian-American Heritage Month and coincides with the 10th anniversary of SIAB and Harford County’s Sestercentennial (250th anniversary) celebrations in 2023. To celebrate the announcement of the festival, SIAB will host a ribbon cutting with the singing of the Italian and American national anthems, in addition to a toast officially welcoming Harford County as the home of The Maryland Italian Festival, followed by the rolling of the first bocce ball to open this year’s tournament.

“We welcome guests to our annual Bocce Tournament & Family Picnic to celebrate community and fellowship and support Special Olympics athletes,” said Joe Papa, SIAB president. “As we look ahead to 2023 and the debut of The Maryland Italian Festival, we’re grateful for the support of our members and all those who partner with us to make events like our Bocce Tournament & Family Picnic possible. This continuing support allows us to make an impact on our core mission to help in the areas of education, family and child services, mental health and addiction.”

On Saturday, Oct. 1, 32 participating bocce teams will compete on four temporary courts in double-elimination style play for cash prizes of $800 for first place, $600 for second and $400 for third.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, members of the public are invited to witness Special Olympics athletes and partners from Harford County and Baltimore City compete. This competition helps the athletes prepare for the Maryland State Games in June 2023 and possibly qualify for the USA Games to be held in 2026 in Minnesota. In June of this year, a Harford County Olympian went to the USA Games in Orlando and returned with two gold and one silver medals. 

Tickets for the 2022 Bocce Tournament & Family Picnic are $10 for one-day or $15 for two-day admission. Participation in the tournament is $200 per four-person team ($50 per person), which includes admission. Team registrations and tournament admission tickets are available through

SIAB thanks to WJA Landscaping of Joppa, Maryland, for being the 2022 Bocce Tournament Grand Bocce Sponsor. Wayne Althoff and his crew from WJA Landscaping perform residential and commercial landscaping throughout the Baltimore and Harford County areas. Individuals may email WJA Landscaping for more information.

Additional business and individual sponsorships are available at various levels to support the Special Olympics and the athletes through

For more information and updates on the inaugural Maryland Italian Festival taking place in 2023, visit


The Society of Italian American Businessmen (SIAB) believes that “in giving you shall receive.” The organization’s humble beginnings in 2013 fostered a movement among members to be a part of something bigger than themselves. This desire has become a resounding reason why people have been drawn to this organization. SIAB focuses on giving to Maryland 501(c)3 charities in the areas of education, family and child services, mental health and addiction. The organization’s major fundraising events include the annual Spring Gala, Golf Outing and The Maryland Italian Festival, debuting in 2023. SIAB’s fundraising events to date have resulted in charitable giving to over 75 area 501(c)3 nonprofits and more than 33 educational scholarships — totaling over $600,000 in impact to the community. More information about SIAB is available at

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