La Festa Italiana Set for Labor Day Weekend in Scranton
SCRANTON, Pa.— Great food, live entertainment and fun for everyone are on the menu for the annual La Festa Italiana to be held Saturday-Sunday-Monday of Labor Day weekend, August 30-31, September 1, 2014, on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton. This is La Festa’s 39th year.
The three‑day festival is an end‑of‑summer tradition that annually attracts thousands of visitors. Hours are Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Monday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
La Festa Italiana will literally hit the ground running with the James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, August 30. The race is being sponsored by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO, the Italian-American service organization, and proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Pre-registration for the race must be received by Aug. 27 by calling Jack Trapani at 570-878-3780 or emailing email@example.com, or sending the $20 entrance fee by check made out to UNICO National-Scranton Chapter, P.O. Box 278, Dunmore, PA 18512. Registration will also be accepted the day of the race from 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. The race begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Lackawanna Ave. and Wyoming Ave., where it continues to Green Ridge St., then on to N. Washington Ave. and ending at Scranton City Hall.
La Festa Italiana has something for everyone. As usual, approximately 80 vendors will offer a wide variety of foods and displays. Italian favorites are cooked and served daily, presenting festival goers with the dilemma of which tempting dish to try next. The Cappuccino Café on the N. Washington Ave. plaza is a favorite gathering spot.
Among the high-lights (literally) of the festival’s first night will be the lighting of the historic “Scranton the Electric City” sign atop the Scranton Electric Building overlooking Courthouse Square. The sign’s lights are being restored and upgraded by Mac Sign Systems with up to $10,000 in funding from La Festa Italiana. The switch will be flipped on Saturday night, Aug. 30, at 8:30 p.m.
Continuous live entertainment for both young and older tastes is presented on the Mohegan Sun Main Stage, the Shop Rite Espresso Stage and the Wayne Bank Stage throughout each day.
This year’s featured performers are Andy DiMino and Susan Griffiths, who will bring their Vegas-style “Toast to Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe” to the stage on Monday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m.
Among the many other acts that will perform are the famous Poets, Italian tenor Christopher Macchio, comedian Uncle Floyd, vocalist Elio Scaccio, Ray Massa’s “EuroRhythms” from Ohio, Chris DiMattio’s tribute to Sinatra featuring Nikki Rasmus, Deano Noto’s Tribute to Billy Joel, Los Vega New York Italian Show Band, the Italian Continentals, The Magics, Gene Dempsey Orchestra, Paul LaBelle’s Exact Change plus many others including jugglers, magicians, street acts, cooking demonstrations, favorite local bands and dance groups.
Fireworks sponsored by Price Chopper will be displayed on Sunday night.
A new tradition will also continue this year. While Coney Island has its hot dog eating contest, and Philadelphia is the site for Wing Bowl, La Festa will crown a Cannoli Eating Champion. The contest will take place on Monday, Sept. 1, at 4:30 p.m. in front of the main stage.
The annual Mass in Italian will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31, in St. Peter’s Cathedral, located one block from the festival site. The Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, D.D., Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, will be the principal celebrant and give the homily. Bishop Morlino, a native of Dunmore, is celebrating his 40th anniversary as a priest this year. The Mass will also be televised live by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.
Click here for the complete entertainment schedule.
Festival patrons are also invited to Lackawanna Railfest ’14, hosted by the nearby Steamtown National Historic Site Aug. 30-31. Shuttle transportation will be provided between La Festa and Steamtown. For details on Railfest, visit www.nps.gov/stea.