La Festa to renovate Electric City sign

Electric City Sign

Courtesy of The Times-Tribune by David Singleton. 

July 2, 2014

La Festa Italiana of Lackawanna County will contribute up to $10,000 to renovate the Electric City sign overlooking Courthouse Square before the annual Labor Day weekend celebration of Italian culture and cuisine.

Chris DiMattio, La Festa president and chairman, said the organization looks for community projects it can take on and thought the Electric City sign would be a natural.

The sign is part of the La Festa Italiana logo and is featured on its website.

“It’s such a prominent part of the city’s history,” Mr. DiMattio said. “It really has been a large part of the image not only of the city but of that whole (La Festa) weekend.”

MAC Sign Systems, which did the original restoration of the sign in 2004, will handle the work, Mr. DiMattio said.

The project will include replacing the existing bulbs with new LED lighting, he said.

Standing atop the Scranton Electric Building on Linden Street, the sign spells out, “Scranton, The Electric City,” in lights.

However, numerous bulbs in the elaborate display are burned out, which city and civic officials acknowledged last month reflects poorly on the city.

The three-day La Festa Italiana, which brings tens of thousands of visitors into the downtown each Labor Day weekend, will open on Saturday, Aug. 30.

Mr. DiMattio said he anticipates there will be some sort of event the night before on Aug. 29 to unveil the renovated sign.

Courtesy of The Times-Tribune, written by David Singleton.  

Contact the writer:


Railfest 2014

During La Festa Italiana, consider a visit to Railfest 2014!

Bill Wierzalis to attend La Festa for second year

self.portrait_Bill Wierzalis

Big Italy in America

Deann Verdier


Baltimore photographer Bill Wierzalis isn’t a man who will have regrets when it comes to his life’s work. He’s been true to his artistic bent and indulged his passion for the Italian culture and people. “I started taking photos on my first Italian trip 30 years ago. From the beginning, I always had the awareness that my picture-taking was an artistic process. With a college background in the humanities, and after taking several visual art classes in Baltimore, I started working in commercial photography studios, which allowed me to keep in touch with new ideas and processes.”

Wierzalis natural photographer’s eye aims to convey the quiet, intimate corners of daily life. But that doesn’t mean the photos are dreary—in fact, they’re anything but. Some scenes may allude to mystery with their settings in fog, dawn, and dusk, but more often than not you’ll notice and appreciate the vitality and color that emanates from each of Wierzalis’ photographs.

Over the past three decades, this artist has developed a love for all things Italian. “I even married one!” laughs Wierzalis. This life choice has given him the opportunity to develop a connection with his Italian in-laws and come to appreciate even more the beautiful Italy, “Italia Bella,” from which his wife hails. “With each new visit to Italy,” says Wierzalis, “my inspired visual expressions have become more focused and attuned.”

As for the production side of his photography career, says the artist about digital photography, “I prefer to create and print my images using traditional enlargers where I can maintain control throughout the printing process.” Certainly, this touch adds to the soft yet apparent life that glows from each piece of Wierzalis’ portfolio. When creating an image, Wierzalis says of technique, “I believe that 50 percent of the work goes into taking the photo and 50 percent goes into printing. Each one is a separate process and I enjoy the challenge of getting the proper mood from deep shadows to dusky sunrises in the Umbrian hills.”

If you love the old Italy Wierzalis conveys and the new Italy he captures, keep an eye out for upcoming “domestic” photographs of closer-to-home destinations like Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  Learn more about Bill Wierzalis at


Entertainment Schedule Preview

La Festa Italiana’s 2013 Entertainment Schedule is available!

La Festa 2013 Entertainment Image

Click here to view the complete schedule for the weekend.

BlueCross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to Sponsor 2013 Fireworks

BCNEPA_75th_4C Logo_wTag copy




Thank you for another successful La Festa Italiana di Lackawanna… See you next year on August 31, September 1 and September 2 for La Festa Italiana 2013!

La Festa Italiana Volunteers Finalizing Plans

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.

La Festa Italiana Brochure and Map

Click here for the 2012 La Festa Italiana Brochure and Map

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, 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:

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

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