Downtown Scranton has La Festa Italiana. But Old Forge boasts its own wildly popular late-summer celebration of all things Italian.
This weekend, thousands of revelers will flock to the Felittese Association’s 30th annual festival in celebration of Our Lady of Constantinople.
The festival runs Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9 from 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 10, from noon to 10 p.m., at the Felittese fairgrounds, 146 Third St., Old Forge.
As always, the festival will feature its usual delectable assortment of Italian foods, plus live entertainment every night.
Meanwhile, the Felittese Association will hold its sixth annual 5K race and fun walk for Our Lady of Constantinople on Sunday, Sept. 10, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Old Forge High School Football Stadium, 301 First St.
Also on Sunday, the festival will hold its traditional procession of the statue of Our Lady of Constantinople following the 10 a.m. Mass at Prince of Peace Parish, 123 Grace St. The group will walk from the church to the Our Lady of Constantinople Chapel at the fairgrounds.
As most Old Forge residents are well aware, the Felittese Festival pays homage to the Our Lady of Constantinople observance in Felitto, the Italian town where many Old Forge residents trace their lineage. The festival always takes place at the same time as Felitto’s celebration, said Lou Terruso, Felittese Association president.
Festival attendees will have dozens of homemade delicacies to choose from, including tripe, sofritto, gnocchi, meatball platters and sandwiches, porketta sandwiches, sausage and pepper sandwiches, portabella mushroom sandwiches, pasta fagiole and pizza.
Oh, and let’s not forget the pastry tent, which will feature everything from cannoli and biscotti to cheesecake, cookies and pizza fritta.
And, for those who can’t stick around, takeout packages will be available.
“We have all the Italian ethnic foods,” Terruso said. “All the food is made from scratch by the Felittese volunteers. A lot of people come and help us, and it’s all volunteer.”
The race, meanwhile, has built up its own faithful following since its inception.
“We started as a two-miler in the first year, then we turned it into a 5K. It’s the only 5K in Old Forge,” said race director Chris Guida. “We’ve been getting over 100 runners and walkers. That’s a pretty good number. And the community really comes out and supports it.”
In a new wrinkle for the race, prizes will be awarded to the first male and female finisher of Felittese descent. And this year’s race theme is “Names of Felitto,” with race T-shirts featuring the surnames of the town’s Felittese families.
Race fee is $20, and includes the T-shirt and a sampling of festival foods.
“It’s a cheap price considering what races cost now. And you get a lot for it,” Guida said.
Proceeds from the race and the festival will benefit a host of community organizations and causes.
“We give to the churches, the firemen, ambulance, the school groups. There’s always somebody who’s having a fundraiser for someone who’s sick, and we help them, too,” Terruso said. “It all goes back into the community.”
“It’s amazing what the association does. These guys go above and beyond,” Guida added. “The whole festival is both a celebration of a culture and a way to give back to the community.”
Race participants can register online at neparunner.com.
IF YOU GO What: 30th annual Felittese Festival
When: Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9, 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 10, noon to 10 p.m.
Where: Felittese Fairgrounds, 146 Third St., Old Forge
Details: For more information on the festival, visit www.facebook.com/FelitteseAssociation. For a race application or more information, email LTerruso@comcast.net or call 570-498-0178.
From left, Kevin Calpin, Jim Moran, Brian Guida, Louis Terruso, Chris Guida and Bob Calpin.