City Butterfly



Maybe just one more bite …
Is there any better way to end summer than with a slice of fresh pizza in one hand and a cannoli in the other?
You know what we’re talking about — La Festa Italiana!
We fluttered into the downtown with thousands of others to enjoy the Labor Day weekend tradition that seems to get bigger and better each year. The scent of garlic wafted through the streets of the Electric City for three glorious days. (Word on the street is that some of our readers are still full from what they consumed at the festival).
With perfect weather and great food, it was standing room only on Courthouse Square Saturday — and by all accounts, it was well worth the wait. After our bellies were full, we made a bee-line to one of our favorite places on the La Festa map — the cappuccino tent. There is nothing better than Italian Festival cappuccino. We don’t know what their secret is, but there is something extra special about it that we look forward to all year.
As we made the rounds, munching and chatting through the crowd, we saw more than a few familiar faces. Among those we were delighted to see were President of La Festa Chris DiMattio, Bill Genello, Ashley Yando, Diane Alberigi, Frank Blasi, Frank Castellano, Joe Guido, Francene Pisano Dudziec, Pat and Palma Yanni, Carole Dougherty, Mary DePalma, John Baldino, André DiMino,  Stephanie Longo, Ann Marie Longo, Mandy Boyle, and Pat Finnerty, just to name a few.
And, of course, we can’t forget Russell Keeler, the winner of the cannoli eating contest hosted by the Original Scala Pastry Stand and Pasquale’s Italian Pastry Stand. Keeler faced some tough competition, but the Kingston resident took home the $100 prize, bragging rights, and a very full stomach after downing 12 cannoli in just five minutes.
Yes, 12. As they say at La Festa, holy cannoli!
We returned Sunday night for more live music, shopping, and a fantastic fireworks display. Then it was time to say arrividerci to summer and this lovely Italian tradition until next year.
But La Festa wasn’t our only stop this weekend. We also enjoyed a trip to the Kiwanis Wyoming County Fair, where we enjoyed more food! (Gee, sounds like all we did was eat this weekend…). Anyway, we had a great time sampling roasted corn on the cob, roast beef sandwiches, strawberry delight with grilled pound cake, pretzel sandwiches, ice cream, deep fried Oreos and so much more, in between riding the carnival rides and taking in a concert or two. Fairs like this are what summers in northeastern Pennsylvania are made of.
Lest we get melancholy about summer’s end, let’s move on. If love great food and yearn for more festivals, you’re in luck. The Fall Greek Food Festival at the Annuciation Greek Orthodox Church, 32 E. Ross St., Wilkes-Barre, will be held Oct. 4 to 6. We’ve fluttered into their kitchen in the past, and we can tell you, the volunteers who cook and bake for this festival are true pros, and they cook with love. Don’t miss your chance to indulge in spanakopita, baklava, gyros and more. (Look for updates on their Facebook a page at
Suddenly, fall isn’t looking so grim after all, is it?
— cb

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