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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2011:05:06 08:41:40

Front: Robert Mariotti, Jr. From left, second row: financial officer Joe Nese, Angela Mazza, president and race director Lou Terruso, Marie Mordent and George Terruso. Third row: Ted Giglio, Joanne Graziano, vice president Christina Mordent and John Charles Saleski. PHOTO SHANNON C. KEITH

It’s been a tradition that’s nearing three decades and, for many in the Triboro-area, the second weekend in September means one thing — the Felittese Festival in Old Forge.

Volunteers start gathering shortly after the Labor Day holiday, preparing pounds of fresh peppers and other ingredients key to the tempting menu.

People line up early at the main food stand on the Third Street festival grounds nightly, their eager tastebuds seeking Italian home cooked specialties like porketta, soffritto, tripe and gnocchi. The event also boasts a huge selection of pastries, pizza, baskets and other games of chance.

The Felittese Festival was founded by

Old Forge residents who have ancestors hailing from Felitto, Italy, with many of their customs coming from a 200-year-old-tradition.

The festival runs from 5-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday, with nightly entertainment by Fuzzy Park (Friday), Chixy-Dix (Saturday) and Sweet Pepper and the Long Hots (Sunday).

The festival will host its second annual “Race for Our Lady of Constantinople” at 9 a.m. at the Old Forge High School Football field, 301 First St. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the race/walk will benefit victims of the Boston Marathon, Our Lady of Constantinople Chapel, Prince of Peace Parish and Other Charities.

A Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday at St. Mary’s Church, Old Forge, to honor Our Lady of Constantinople followed by a procession of the statue ending at Our Lady of Constantinople Chapel at the Felittese Fair Grounds,145 Third St., Old Forge.

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