Bocce ball a hit at Centennial Park in Elmwood Park

Frank Fagiano takes aim on the bocce turf at Centennial Park in Elmwood Park Thursday July 10. | Kevin Tanaka/Sun-Times Media
Frank Fagiano takes aim on the bocce turf at Centennial Park in Elmwood Park Thursday July 10. | Kevin Tanaka/Sun-Times Media

Bocce ball has caught on in Elmwood Park.

What started as 11 teams on playing Thursday evenings in July has increased to 16 teams that now play on Wednesdays, as well.

The Elmwood Park Parks and Recreation Department’s Adult Bocce League takes place at Centennial Park, 7600 W. Armitage Ave., where two bocce ball courts have been set up.

Mike Ciancio, organizer of the league for parks and recreation, said 16 teams is the most he could allow.

“We couldn’t handle any more,” he said.

But he sees the increased interest in bocce ball as a plus.

“It caught on like wildfire,” he said. “At one time, the park wasn’t really used, and now it is.”

He said the two days of league play have brought the park to life.

“It has turned into a picnic,” he said. “People bring out their grill and coolers. It’s like a party over there.”

Spectators come out to watch the teams play as well. League play is supposed to end Aug. 28, but Ciancio said there is already talk of a second round.

“They want to do a fall league that will go all the way to Oct. 21,” he said.

Ciancio said the leagues are all about having fun, but if more teams want to play in the league there are only a few solutions.

“You either increase the days of league play or add more courts,” he said.

He said he’s open to either.

“There are so many possibilities,” he said.

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