FELITTESE ASSOCIATION READIES FESTIVAL

by Maureen Manzano/TRIBUNE REGIONAL STAFF



photo from newspaper

If you're already missing the taste of Italian food from last weekend's La Festa Italiana in Scranton, take heart. There's more buona da mangiare in store.
The Felittese Association of Old Forge returns this week with its annual festival in honor of Our Lady of Constantinople, patroness of the town of Felitto, province of Salerno, Italy. She has been venerated in that town since 1790 and many descendants of Felitto emigrants now live in Old Forge. The association itself is composed of many of those.
"I remember it as a child," said Marie Mordent, who, with her sister Janet and others, helps organize the event.
The festival runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the Chapel grounds, 146 Third St.
The variety of food is a reflection of the dedication of the small core of volunteers who begin to make much of the food - and then freeze it - two to three weeks in advance.
"Five of us ladies made 803 pounds of gnocchi macaroni," Marie Gromada, president of the association, said. "It's all done by hand."
Mrs. Gromada said the association has been trying to get more volunteers to help with the effort. "We've been trying to encourage the younger people to join us," she said.
The last foods to be prepared just before the start of the festival include 35 pounds of sausage and peppers, along with porketta. Other foods on the menu include pizza fritta and assorted Italian desserts and pastries.
Visitors can feast as early as 5 p.m. Friday and later enjoy the music of the Cadillacs.
Friday's parade begins at 5:30 p.m., starting at Old Forge High School. Among the participants are the Old Forge High School marching band, the Old Forge Fire Department, borough officials and anyone else who wants to join in.
The grounds open Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m., with entertainment provided by the Continentals. The grounds open at noon on Sunday; afternoon entertainment will be provided by Sarah Marie and Joseph, and the Poets will perform at 7:30 p.m.
The final day of the festival takes on a more traditional-tone Sunday at 11 a.m. when Mass is celebrated by the Very Rev. Joseph Cipriano, in honor of Our Lady of Constantinople, at St. Mary's Church, Grace and St. Mary's streets.
From the church, the saint's statue will be carried through the streets of Old Forge to the chapel in front of the festival grounds. A Paci band from Pittston leads the procession. When the participants arrive, Father Cipriano leads the praying of the rosary.
"This is what it's all about," Mrs. Gromada said.

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