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Big weekend in Jessup: Carnival and Running of the Saints

Both events make for a festive Memorial Day weekend in Lackawanna County.

JESSUP, Pa. — Memorial Day weekend in Jessup means two things: the firemen's carnival and the Running of the Saints.

Only in Jessup, on Memorial Day weekend, is it considered completely normal to discuss 20th-century Italians while on a carnival ride.

"Our ancestors over in Gubbio, they came over here because it is a coal mining district, and it reminds them of the rolling hills over in Gubbio"

Jesse Donnini is talking about St. Ubaldo Day and the running of the saints. The tradition has been a part of Jessup culture since 1909, originating in Gubbio, Italy, in the 1100s.

Jessup's fire company hosts a carnival every year. Memorial Day weekend is when the two traditions meet.

Dom Perini recalls starting the carnival 31 years ago. Back then, it was just a single tent. Now, it's responsible for about 70 percent of the company's operating budget.

"This is what buys equipment, pays our bills. We just spent $152,000 to buy air packs. We went for grants, but they weren't there. And it's a big responsibility to keep this place going"

Last year was the first time both events were held after the pandemic.

The carnival opens Thursday at 6 p.m. and runs through Monday.

The Running of the Saints is Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

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