Art Ibleto, owner of the Pasta King gourmet food and catering company in Cotati, will be honored for his lifetime contribution to Sonoma County agriculture by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, which opened Friday and continues through the weekend.
The fair is a three-day celebration of the Sonoma County lifestyle, with chef demonstrations, delicious cuisine, wine tasting and sales (all three days), wine seminars, art exhibition and sale, music, the World Championship Grape Stomp, microbrew tasting and farm and harvest agricultural activities for children and adults.
Ibleto left Italy for America at the age of 22, where he broke into the workforce as a zucchini picker in Petaluma. Since then the octogenarian has worked as a cow herder, Christmas tree farmer, butcher, pilot, mechanic, grape grower, vintner, opera singer and caterer. As a zucchini picker he met and married the farmer's daughter, Vicki Ghirardelli, in 1951. Over the years, they acquired their own farms, including 50 acres of vineyards.
Ibleto's Spaghetti Palace became an icon at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for nearly four decades and eventually earned him the title of "Pasta King" of the region.
Following the success of the Spaghetti Palace at the fairgrounds, Ibleto opened a retail store in Cotati. His sauces, lasagna, polenta, minestrone and ravioli have rightfully made him famous in the area. Ibleto's products have won multiple awards at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
Ibleto frequently donates food for fundraising events, allowing countless individuals and organizations to raise much-needed funds. He was presented with a Spirit of Sonoma County Award by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau in December 2011 for his efforts and declared an honorary citizen of Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.
The Sonoma County Harvest Fair continues through this weekend at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.