BY: William Genello
La Festa Italiana is back! After the event was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, La Festa is returning and will be held Labor Day weekend (Friday through Monday, September 3-6, 2021) on Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Scranton, Pa. Hours are Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The festival committee is collaborating with the Lackawanna County Commissioners and the Mayor of Scranton’s Office to plan the event. COVID vaccines, masks and hand sanitizers will be available at no charge.
A variety of vendors will be offering great Italian food and other items, and continuous live entertainment will be featured. There is no admission charge. This year’s presenting sponsor is the Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Also returning this year are The Bronx Wanderers, La Festa’s main act on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Festival patrons will recall these talented guys from previous appearances. They have been performing in Las Vegas for several years.
The Bronx Wanderers deliver a “Back to the Future” high-octane ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s rock n’ roll experience featuring the infectious energy of the music that skyrocketed classics like “American Graffiti,” “Happy Days” and “A Bronx Tale” to immediate success. Weave that nostalgic adrenalin into a soundtrack of the greatest hits of rock n’ roll replicated in a way that only a master record producer can achieve.
Among the many other acts that will perform are The Cameos, comedian Uncle Floyd Vivino, Frank Sinatra tribute (Chris DiMattio), Dean Martin Tribute (Andy DiMino from Las Vegas), a Connie Francis tribute featuring Nikki Rasmus, Gene Dempsey Orchestra, Old Friends, Flaxy Morgan, Popstar Drive, Mike Lanza, The Luongo Brothers, The Wanabees, Daddy-O and the Sax Maniax, The Exact Change, Gerard Mayer Band, the Mark Montella Project featuring Erin Malloy, La Festa’s principal Italian tenor Michael Castaldo, Ballet Theatre of Scranton performing Italian-Folk street dances, plus many others including jugglers, magicians, street acts, favorite local bands and dance groups.
The annual Mass in Italian will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, located one block from the festival site. The Mass will also be televised live by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.
Fireworks presented by Dickson City Hyundai will be displayed on Sunday night.
For more information, the complete entertainment schedule and updates, visit the festival Web site at: www.lafestaitaliana.org.
La Festa Italiana will literally hit the ground running with the Ninth Annual Captain James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m. 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 Christmas Party and West Scranton High School Scholarship Program. Pre-registration deadline is Sept. 1 and can be done at https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Scranton/Minicozzi5k
LA FESTA ITALIANA ENTERTAINMENT
ALFREDO’S MAIN STAGE
Friday September 3
4:30 Opening Ceremonies
5:00 The Exact Change Band featuring Paul LaBelle
6:30 Electric City Steel Drum Band
7:30 The Bronx Wanderers, from Las Vegas by Popular Demand (presented by Jim Baress)
Saturday September 4
10:00 AM Captain James R. Minicozzi Memorial Race/Walk
(Juggler Robert Smith during the day)
Noon Flaxy Morgan
2:00 5-Star Dance Academy
2:30 Old Friends
4:30 Arts in Movement Dance
5:00 BurnTheJukebox, Talented Musical Youngsters
7:00 The Cameos, New Jersey’s Favorite Oldies Group (presented by Fidelity Bank)
Sunday September 5
Noon Mike Lanza, Legendary Italian Vocalist
1:00 Al Grout, Juggler and Magician
1:30 Mark Montella Project featuring Erin Malloy
3:00 Al Grout, Juggler and Magician
3:30 Connie Francis Tribute featuring Nikki Rasmus
4:30 “Uncle Floyd” Vivino, famous NJ Comedian
5:30 Ballet Theatre of Scranton (sponsored by Coccia Foundation)
6:00 Frank and Dean Tribute Show featuring Chris DiMattio and Vegas’ own Andy DiMino Featuring Ken McGraw’s Brass & Ivory Big Band
8:30 Daddy-O and the Sax Maniax
10:00 Fireworks (presented by Dickson City Hyundai)
Monday September 6
12:30 The Gene Dempsey Orchestra
2:00 Prima Elite Dance Academy
3:00 The Luongo Brothers, with Gino Mercuri as ELVIS plus special appearance by Frankie Gervasi
4:00 Michael Castaldo, La Festa’s Principal Italian Tenor
6:00 Popstar Drive, Premier Dance Band
WAYNE BANK STAGE and PICNIC AREA
Corner of Adams Avenue & Spruce Street
(Learn and Play Bocce with Danny)
FRIDAY September 3
4:30 Danny Argo & Friends
7:00 Fuzzy Park Band
Saturday September 4
Noon The Frost
2:00 Big King Mouse
4:00 Sarah Marie and Joseph Italian Folk Tribute Group
7:00 Meet Me on Marcie
Sunday September 5
(Damien the Magician Sunday & Monday)
Noon Tony Vergnetti
2:30 Danny Argo & Friends
5:00 Janice Gambo-Chesna
7:00 Gerard Mayer Band
Monday September 6
Noon The Wanabees
2:00 Jim Cullen, Jack Bordo & Sharon Ambrozia
4:00 East Coast
Presenting Sponsor: Lehigh Valley Health Network
(Sound and Lights provided by Magdon Music , Olyphant)
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