5K Race and Pet Parade to Benefit Griffin Pond

Griffin Pond Animal Shelter will host its inaugural Wag-O-Ween 5K and Pet Costume Parade Saturday, Oct. 16, at McDade Park, pavilion 1, at 1 Bald Mountain Rd., Scranton. Registration and check-in are from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m., and the race begins at 10.

At the event, runners are invited to wear their favorite Halloween costume or running gear as they dash through a 5K course designed by Scranton Running Company. The top male and female runners in each age category will receive a medal. 

The runners who compete in costume also will vie for the scariest, funniest, best superhero, and most unique costume prizes. All runners will receive a complimentary Griffin Pond Animal Shelter Wag-O-Ween 5K and Pet Costume Parade t-shirt. Registration is $35 and can be completed at www.runsignup.com/griffinpond.

Following the race at approximately 11:30 a.m., Griffin Pond will host a Halloween pet costume parade. Parade participants should check in at 11 a.m. at pavilion 1. During the event, pet owners will escort their pets as they contend for the funniest, cutest, most creative, and most unique costume prizes. Parade registration is $15. The shelter also has numerous sponsorship options available which are great advertising vehicles for businesses or a way to honor someone. To register for the parade or as a sponsor, please visit www.griffinpondanimalshelter.com.

All proceeds will benefit the shelter’s canine and feline enrichment program.

For more information, contact Jackie Galvin, M.S., development and communications director, at 570-586-3700, ext. 522 or jackie@griffinpondas.com.

Griffin Pond Animal Shelter was established as the Humane Society of Lackawanna County in 1938 to provide shelter for homeless, unwanted, and abused animals. The shelter cares for more than 200 animals on a daily basis. As a non-profit organization, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter does not receive any assistance from government agencies or subsidies from other institutions. The shelter operates on donations from the community. For more information about Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, please visit www.griffinpondanimalshelter.com.

Lackawanna River Heritage Trail Recognized as Great Greenway in the State

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-PA), through its Great Places in PA Program, annually designates Great Places. For 2021, the Great Places categories were Greenways/Trails, Public Spaces, and Streets. Eight nominations achieved a Great Places designation, bringing the total Great Places in PA to 46. Great Places have a sustainable vision for the future and serve as a model for other communities. Having high quality examples of successful planning efforts throughout the Commonwealth to share and promote helps to achieve the Chapter’s mission and vision.

APA-PA is proud to announce designation of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, which connects more than 30 communities in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, and Wayne Counties, as a 2021 Great Greenway/Trail in Pennsylvania. The Trail stretches more than 70 miles through the heart of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley State and National Heritage Area. It travels along the Lackawanna River and through the Northeastern PA mountains showcasing the areas culture,

history, architecture, and natural landscapes. The trail also provides connections to parks, neighborhoods, and community amenities, such as restaurants, shops, and lodging. Thousands of people annually use the trail for walking, biking, hiking, running, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Additionally, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Association works with communities to implement trail improvements and with planning committees to host marathons, festivals, bike tours, and other events that attract people from all areas of the country. It also partners with the Lackawanna River Conservation Association to sustain the trail and engage local communities to participate in service days. The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is an asset to the entire region that is helping to sustain local communities and promote healthy lifestyles.

The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, together with the Cherry Creek Crossing Trail Network/Monroe County, Lehigh Parkway/Lehigh County, Phoenixville Portion of the Schuylkill River Trail/Chester County, and Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail/Lancaster County, comprise the slate of 2021 Great Places in PA in the Greenways/Trails category. Additionally, one Great Street and two Great Public Spaces were designated. These Great Places demonstrate the rewarding results that occur through community partnerships, planning, and dedication. In recognizing the 2021 Great Places in PA, the Chapter also celebrates the many community leaders and officials, professionals, and residents who contribute to making the designated places “great.” For information on previously designated Great Places, please visit http://www.planningpa.org.

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