Most of the hype around the Columbus Italian Festival stems from its attempt at cooking the world's largest meatball. Last year, the Columbus Italian Club came about 100 pounds short of breaking the world record, but this year they're looking to tilt the scales by making a 1,000-pounder.

Most of the hype around the Columbus Italian Festival stems from its attempt at cooking the world’s largest meatball. Last year, the Columbus Italian Club came about 100 pounds short of breaking the world record, but this year they’re looking to tilt the scales by making a 1,000-pounder.

Cooks will start on the meatball Friday night, and the process will continue throughout the weekend. You can stop by any time to watch this behemoth bake inside a specially engineered convection oven.

Giant meatball aside, there’ll be three days of good food, beer, a parade and tons of live entertainment.

Let’s start with the food, because face it, Italians make some damn fine food. Carfagna’s will be serving sausages and roasted chicken, and Cafe Napolitana will have their fabulous calzones.

A must-try is St. John’s homemade pizza (Sicilian or thin crust). Other vendors will have pasta dishes, meatballs subs, veal parmesan and more. For dessert, choose from an assortment of Italian pastries.

On the beverage side, there’ll be plenty of wines from the old country as well as Peroni beer. Peroni is one of those beers that is immensely better on tap than out of the bottle — there’s an added freshness and slightly sweet flavor — so Peroni on draft is alone worth the trip to the festival.

Also make sure to get an Italian coffee from the Cafe Del Mondo tent. It’s some of the best in the city.

Three days of traditional and contemporary music will be on two stages. The Dean Martin Tribute Show at 9 p.m. Saturday should be a highlight.