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La Festa Italiana is back in Scranton

A decades-old Scranton tradition is back this Labor Day Weekend after being canceled due to COVID in 2020.

SCRANTON, Pa. — "Well, we're back! Thank God we're back."

Eugene Padula just about summed up how every vendor at La Festa Italiana is feeling. He owns Carmella's Italian Deli and Pastries in West Scranton and says it hurt last year when the event was canceled.

Profits from this weekend will help him catch up on some bills, but more than anything, he's excited to catch up with customers and other vendors.

"You miss everyone. But it was nice last night; everyone was coming over, seeing each other, hugging each other, wishing everybody good luck and stuff like that. It's a great feeling."

John McDonald, the owner of Electric City Pizza, has spent most of his time over the past 24 hours frying eggplant for his most popular pie.

"There are people that I really don't see from out of town, and they come in specifically [for this], and as soon as I see their faces, I typically don't know any names, but I know they're coming for either eggplant pizza or dragon fire pizza."

Wednesday's storm pushed preparations back a bit.

"I'm usually done, so I'm still doing some of my other stuff today," said McDonald.

But the tents never came down, and some of the organizers were even out on the square that night working.

"Oh, yeah, there was a few of us out. We had to get certain things done," said La Festa Committee Chair Chris DiMattio.

When we asked vendors and organizers what it was like to be back, they all had the same answer:

"We're a little bit rusty, but we're getting there," said Padula.

"You kind of forget a little bit, and you're searching for all your festival stuff and trying to pull everything together," said McDonald.

"We're a little rusty! But it's great to be back, and we're looking forward to seeing a lot of friendly faces, people we haven't seen in a while. A lot of people are calling saying this is going to be their first time coming to Scranton, like a number of people," said DiMattio.

La Festa runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 6. For the full schedule of events, click here.

🎉🇮🇹🎉 ATTENZIONE!!! - OPENING TODAY! 🇮🇹 LaFesta, Great Food and Beautiful Weather! Join us! ➡ Starts at 4 pm today!...

Posted by La Festa Italiana di Lackawanna County on Friday, September 3, 2021