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, Sept. 3-6, on Courthouse Square, Scranton. Hours are Friday, 4 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 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.

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. 

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 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   

Artist of the Month: Ruth Boyles

Ruth Boyles, the September Artist of the Month, is shown with one of her paintings

By Ruth Boyles

For years I  had thought maybe there was an artist inside me that just needed to be taught how.  

One year, David Smith, a wonderful artist friend of mine and I were doing some work on Grace Bible Church’s “Living Nativity,” and he invited me to come to a painting class at the Dunmore Senior Center.  

I went, not knowing anything about art except that I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I thought I was just going to learn to paint, which I did.  But more than that I found many new friends.  People I have grown to love.  

I have immensely enjoyed my last nine years at what is presently called the Dunmore Activity Center.  In our sketch class, we have dabbled with watercolors, acrylics, pastels, charcoal on different surfaces, pen and ink, and during the painting time, most of us work with oils. 

We appreciate the help of our teacher, Jill Swersie, as she has very unselfishly given of herself to teach us how to make our paintings take on new dimensions and lives of their own.  We look forward to having her back full time when the Covid business is over.  

For now we are learning from each other.  I have been working on a “commission” of a barn which I especially enjoy painting for someone in the area.  It is special to this person because it was built during the Civil War.

The red barn was painted during a plein air painting day for our class in Scott Run, Pa.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: September 2021

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

It’s kick-off time!  Football fans are raring to go… In our house, everything revolves around Penn State’s football schedule. My husband, a Penn State alum, who played football for Clarks Summit (now Abington Heights) considers game time “High Holy Days” in our house and discusses menus for his snacks as seriously as he does for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Years ago, when we attended games at University Park, he sent me to the college bookstore to look for Penn State cookbooks. Then, we went to the Creamery!!!  

So, in keeping with our tradition, here are recipes from Penn State for Nittany Lion Tailgating:

Beer Cheese

1 lb. sharp cheese
|1 lb. Swiss cheese
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (I use 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (I use 2 tsp.)
1 cup beer

Shred cheese and blend with other ingredients.  Age 6 days.  Serve at room temperature with your favorite crackers.

***

Seafood Sandwiches

1 cup shrimp, lobster or crab, boiled and chopped ( Note: I boil my shrimp and steam my lobster and crab)
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped and patted dry (optional)
3 oz. softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt
Dill weed
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients. Spread on bread that has had the crust cut off and cut into strips. 

NOTE: I usually sprinkle the mixed ingredients with a little Old Bay seasoning before making the sandwiches.

***

Steak Salad

1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 lb. charcoal-broiled steak, thinly sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
2 hard boiled eggs  (These are optional for me)

Combine salad dressing, capers and mustard, stirring to blend. Add steak and toss with dressing until well coated. Add tomatoes, onion and eggs; gent mix. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

***

Chicken Wings

8 chicken wings or legs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp.  ginger, powdered
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. rosemary leaves
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. paprika ( I use 1 teaspoon)

Oil at 13x9x2″ baking dish. Rinse chicken thoroughly. Mix juices and pour over chicken. Mix herbs and spices together and sprinkle over the chicken. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and bake 20 minutes more. Let cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to pack.

***

Bloody Mary

4-46 oz. cans V-8 juice (you can get flavored ones, with black pepper, or Bloody Mary flavored)
1 qt. vodka
1-6 oz. bottle Worcestershire sauce
2 lemons, juice only
1 tsp. celery salt
Tabasco, to taste

Mix together and chill.  Makes 36 Bloody Marys.

***

Cauliflower and Stilton Cream Soup

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup water
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, grated
1 quart half &half
1 stick butter
2/3 cup flour
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. Stilton cheese

Cook cauliflower in water until tender. Drain and mash. Cook other vegetables in chicken broth until tender.  Stir in cauliflower. Add cream and heat until warm, but not boiling. Melt butter and stir in flour. Gradually add to soup to thicken it. Stir in cheeses. If you’d like a totally pureed soup, put all vegetables through food processor before adding the cream.  Serves 8.