Volunteers have been busy putting the final touches on plans for this year’s La Festa Italiana to be held this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 1-3, on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.
The festival is an end‑of‑summer tradition that annually attracts thousands of visitors. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Monday. Admission is free. As usual, approximately 80 vendors will offer a wide variety of foods and displays. Continuous live entertainment for both young and older tastes is presented on three stages during the afternoon and evening each day. The festival committee will operate two stands, one featuring Italian cultural items, clothing and novelties, and the popular Cappuccino Café. Proceeds from these stands are donated to local charities.
It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a three-day event, and La Festa board members and volunteers have been working for months to make it happen. It’s worth it since thousands of people from near and far will visit the Square and enjoy the festival. The Board of Directors is led by officers Christopher DiMattio, president; Joseph Guido, vice president; Debra Meila, secretary; Sam Prudente, treasurer; and Rev. David P. Cappelloni, chaplain. Other board members are Diane Alberigi, Frank T. Blasi, Brian Cali, Frank Castellano, Karen Clifford, Lou Cossa, Jack Costanzi Jr., Andre’ DiMino, Francene Dudziec, Bill Genello, Frank Gervasi, David Kontz, Mary Marrara, Tony Nicosia, Margaret Pettinato, Peter Ruane, Michael Semian, Msgr. Constantine Siconolfi, chaplain emeritus, and Frank Zazzera, Patrick Fricchione Sr., Patrick F. Guido, Robert W. Pettinato and Nicholas Scandale are honorary members.
FLAG PHOTO CAPTION: Some of the board members and volunteers of La Festa Italiana display the Italian flag on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton, site of the festival to be held this Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Sept. 1-3). In front row from left: Christopher DiMattio, president; Francene Dudziec; Diane Alberigi; Debra Meila, secretary; Mary Marrara; Margaret Pettinato; and Lou Cossa. Back row from left: Peter Ruane; Joe Guido, vice president; Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty; Sam Prudente, treasurer; Frank T. Blasi; Bill Genello; and Frank Castellano.
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, Sept. 1-2-3, on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton. This is La Festa’s 37th 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 Capt. James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 1. The race is being sponsored by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO, the Italian-American service organization, and proceeds will benefit UNICO charities. Registration for the race will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Linden St. and N. Washington Ave. in downtown Scranton. The entrance fee is $20.
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. This year marks the return of the Cappuccino Café to its traditional location on the N. Washington Ave. plaza.
Continuous live entertainment for both young and older tastes is presented on two stages during the afternoon and evening each day.
This year’s featured performer is Dean Martin impersonator Andy DiMino, who will take the stage on Monday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Among the many other acts that will perform are Carmello the Singer, Italian tenor Christopher Macchio, comedian Uncle Floyd, Los Vega, The Poets, King Henry and the Original Showmen, the Hi-Lites featuring Pat Aita, the Italian Continentals, and the Frank Sinatra Tribute featuring Chris DiMattio and the Brass & Ivory Orchestra.
The annual Mass in Italian will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2, in St. Peter’s Cathedral, located one block from the festival site. The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, will preside and give the homily. The Mass will also be televised live by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.
For more information and updates, visit the festival Web site at: www.lafestaitaliana.org.
Festival patrons are also invited to Lackawanna Railfest ’12, hosted by the nearby Steamtown National Historic Site Sept. 1-2. Shuttle transportation will be provided between La Festa and Steamtown. For details on Railfest, visit www.nps.gov/stea.
Joseph Caputo has enjoyed a lifetime of family, educational, and theatrical experiences. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he was educated in parochial schools, and went on to earn a degree in Communications from Marywood College in Scranton, and a Master’s Degree in Theatre from the State University of New York.
Joseph has combined his passion for food, storytelling, and theatre into a recipe for success. Spending countless hours in the kitchen of his boyhood home, and in exceptionally fine restaurants in New York City and worldwide have helped him to develop a unique culinary style. Blessed with keen perception as to which ingredients created the great dishes he enjoyed, he most often came home with a recipe all his own, and more spectacular than the original.
Today he is chef/owner of two successful businesses Catering by Joseph LTD, and Zuppa del Giorno, il ristorante di pranzo, both located in Scranton
For many years, Joseph’s success was a work in progress. After paying his dues as a struggling actor, frustrated and unhappy, Joseph returned home. When he did, he became involved in education, first as a teacher and then as an administrator. In addition, to his duties within the school system, he continued to perform in community and regional theatre productions, and when opportunities for catering came along, he welcomed them as well.
During that period, while involved in a local show, he responded to another performer, also a friend, by offering to help her with an upcoming dinner party. The dinner was a great success, and the guests were very impressed with both the food and the presentation. Enthusiastic about having Joseph orchestrate parties for them, several of the guests requested his business card (nonexistent at that time).
From that dinner party, a business was born. Joseph began to work as a personal chef.
Some time later, when the school that employed him began to implement drastic cutbacks, Joseph lost his position as principal. He was faced with making serious decisions about his future. He finally allowed himself to face his deepest truth. He loved teaching and administration, and working in the theatre, but he delighted in cooking.
He moved ahead, deciding to go to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and St. Helena, California to take his culinary skills to a new level. He decided to combine his talents as a chef, an actor, and a people pleaser to open a catering business, and later a restaurant.
Joseph has cooked in Tolfa, Italy, Paris, France and is a guest chef demonstrator on Holland America Cruise Lines. Joseph has bottled his own salad dressing, “Joseph’s Citrus Orange Vinaigrette.”
Combining his theatrical flair with his cooking and teaching expertise, Joseph currently teaches cooking classes. He is currently wrote a book which reveals humorous “behind the scenes” stories from his catering business, and a treasury of recipes from his childhood and lifelong cooking adventures. Entitled, “The Accidental Chef” the book is to be released later this fall.
The music and one-of-a-kind style of the legendary singer Dean Martin will be featured at this year’s La Festa Italiana to be held Sept. 1-2-3 on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.
As always, there is no admission fee for the festival. In addition to the great food, visitors will enjoy three days and nights of continuous live entertainment.
This year’s featured act is Andy DiMino, who will bring his Dean Martin Tribute show straight from Las Vegas to Scranton. DiMino takes the stage on Monday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m.
With his love for the music and comedy of the Rat Pack generation, his close physical resemblance to Dean Martin and an Italian background (DiMino’s father and all four grandparents were from Sicily), DiMino is a natural when it comes to bringing ol’ Dino back to life.
DiMino has been entertaining audiences for practically his entire life. Growing up in Southern California, his high school rock bands opened Hollywood club shows for groups like The Doors and Iron Butterfly. Playing the ski lodge circuit in Colorado led to an album with RCA as a founding member and songwriter for the band First Fire, and later tour dates as keyboard player/singer with Mary MacGregor (“Torn Between Two Lovers”).
However, the road is a tough place to raise a family, and eventually DiMino decided to leave the rock club circuit to stay close to home and raise his son. He started focusing on songwriting, working as a solo guitarist/ singer in restaurants and pubs. A first-place prize on TV’s “Gong Show” planted the seed for variety. Eventually, DiMino wanted to expand his career, so he set out for Las Vegas in 1990 with the hopes of finding something different that would allow him to continue working with talented people while still singing great songs.
Once in Las Vegas, DiMino quickly added acting and improv to his credits, appearing in TV commercials, a “Tonight Show” comedy sketch with Jay Leno and a bit part in a Kenny Rogers TV movie. DiMino also found work as Las Vegas legend Buddy Greco’s production manager, working the big band dance/live radio shows at the Flamingo. It was here that DiMino got some of his earliest Vegas singing experiences, when Greco arranged a big band vocal chart for DiMino to sing on stage with his band.
DiMino has since found his calling as the world’s foremost Dean Martin impersonator. He has earned rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, which report “Andy DiMino is a brilliantly conceived, uncanny total embodiment of Martin.”
For more information on Andy DiMino, please visit: