The Great Italian Get-together in Scranton

COURTHOUSE SQUARE -- Downtown Scranton will welcome thousands of people this weekend for a Labor Day tradition. Courthouse Square transforms for the annual La Festa Italiana.

The 42nd annual La Festa Italiana runs through Monday and organizers are counting on a big crowd to help them make a big impact for people in need.

The tables and tents are set up, the sandwich rolls are sliced, the onions diced, and Courthouse Square in Scranton is ready to welcome thousands of people to the annual La Festa Italiana.

"I love La Festa," said Dan Figura of Honesdale "This is probably my favorite weekend of the year, get out and see thousands of people, and sell a couple sandwiches."

The festival hosts vendors from our area, including Dan Figura, concessions, and dozens more from other states.

Perhaps the most local is Da Vinci Pizza on Linden Street. They'll serve pizza in the store and on the street all weekend. That means an unfathomable amount of pizza dough.

"Oh, it's brutal, tons! I don't have room for all the stuff I have in the coolers. I had to rent some more coolers and we'll see," said Frank Mazzone from Da Vinci's Pizza.

Beyond the pizza dough, the dough raised from La Festa goes to a good cause. The proceeds from La Festa go to a different charity every year. The organizers say this year that charity was obvious. Part of the proceeds from this weekend will go to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

"At the end of August, there's a tornado or a hurricane somewhere. We're just here to help. So, all the money that is raised by our committee, and a lot of money that Unico raises as well, all goes to charitable organizations that are in need," said organizer Chris DiMatteo.

That news made Darah Dendy feel good about the money she's bound to spend at the festival. It's a Labor Day tradition for her family.

"I think that's awesome, I think that's great. I feel like anything that communities can do to help that's awesome, so I think that's great."

La Festa goes until 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the final day, Labor Day.

19 comments

  • Sam I Am

    Are French Fries, Kielbasa, Pierogis, Funnel cake and BBQ Italian, well maybe the BBQ for the Spaghetti westerns.
    YUK YUK

  • THE PHILOSOPHER

    Italians were once treated the same way Hispanics are being treated today. Look up the Lattimer Mine Massacre of 1897 and see what happened, who was killed and why they marched. It took well over 100 years for Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks and other minority groups to assimilate and be accepted. Many of us have mixes of these genes today. It is a logical fallacy to accuse Hispanics of not wanting to assimilate because they do. There is historical precedent in PA. 100 years from now in PA as in other areas of the U.S., Hispanics will have assimilated and future generations will have this mix. We all will be long gone by then and time will once again show how great America is and how strong we are because of the mix of different peoples and cultures coming together. Those of you who don’t want to accept this are fearful just as some 100 years ago, but they are gone too and their fear and hatred are buried with them long ago. Keep on posting, but time will run its course and your voices will no longer be heard.

    • Lady Liberty

      One hundred years ago the Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks and other minority groups came through Elllis Island and were properly documented before entering the country. They at least had to learn enough English to pass the required citizenship test or they were deported in short order.

      • THE PHILOSOPHER

        No they did not. Your comparison is anachronistic. My ancestors came through Ellis Island and they were granted citizenship on the spot. They did not have any documents. What has changed are the laws. You are not a student of history and your explanation is inaccurate. Check your facts.

      • Ted

        They came through Ellis Island. That’s the point. There was a record of them being here and where they were going.

      • The Philosopher

        No they did not. My Hungarian Great Great Great grandfather never spoke English and he became a citizen in 1947. English was a requirement added later. Many NEPA immigrants never learned English. They wanted to but were too busy working in the mines and farms and had little resources for education. Their kids did and they assimilated well. The only word I know from him is dobra which means good in Slovak were he lived as a Hungarian outsider. Your statement has no basis in fact

      • The Philosopher

        Ted. That is not the point and far from it. Ellis Island after the 1920s became a detention and deportation Center. Eastern Europeans, disabled people, and non Nordic people were barred from entering the US. In the 50s the laws changed. Quotas were established to keep other races and ethnicities out. Even President Truman opposed the changes. You have an inaccurate understanding of what happened at Ellis Island and it is far from the romanticized revisionist history view you hold. Do your research first before you comment. When they gave permission to people to enter in from Ellis Island there was no way they could track them. It was a Port of Entry. I guarantee you if you go to a Port of Entry today you don’t have a Visa you will not be let in. Our ancestors did not need visas as they let them in automatically. After the 1920s people began to complain about immigrants especially the ones that didn’t speak English and were from Eastern Europe. This is why immigration control started because of racism and xenophobia. It is the exact same scenario with the treatment of Hispanics today. Thinking such as yours is the problem because you refuse to educate yourself and contemplate what is really occurring. There for you continue to live in your small constructed world so you can defend your position based on false information. I know Hispanics that know US history far better than you do and some of them are undocumented.

      • Bucknell

        Makes you wonder why there are people in this country from hundreds of countries and hundreds of languages, yet the only language that has to be catered to is Spanish. Yes, on your electric bill etc. you can get help with interpreters for many languages. People that have immigrated from countries that don’t speak English insist their children read, write and speak English. Mexican families are here for generations and don’t learn English. Cubans come to this country and learn English as do their children. Watch the cable news channels and people from around the world speak English. English is the language of business. English is becoming the common language of the world. Makes you wonder…

  • Lance

    Where gas is born…. dont mention Christopher Columbus or they will block the festival due to concerns of the opinions of the incredibly stupid.

  • Robert

    Until Mikes complaint gains the attention of a federal judge from California, I’ll be signing people up for the great redneck corn race! Five dollar entry fee, eat all you can eat and the first person to produce a undigested corn kernel takes all! PS. BYOC

    • Robert

      I second that, but demand adding a rider. Equal festivals for all ethnicities before the Italians get theirs.
      Of course you know we will have to fund a committee to do a feasibility study. I think 3 million in taxpayer dollars should get us started Mike. We should convene the first meeting in Vegas? But that’s negotiable of course.

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