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Thousands of pounds of porketta ready for La Festa Italiana in Scranton

La Festa Italiana runs from September 3 through September 6.

SCRANTON, Pa. — They'll make you a sandwich you can't refuse.

The volunteers for the Scranton chapter of UNICO National say that's their tagline when they sell their famous porketta sandwiches at La Festa Italiana. 

Volunteer Steve Andrichak showed us how it's done.

"What we do is, after we cook the hams, there's what we call the juice left in the pans. That juice we put in these buckets. At La Festa, we use the juice to have the porketta soak in it. To tell you the truth, it's the juice that provides the flavor, so that's our secret ingredient."

While the ovens are heating up the porketta, the extra fans in the kitchen are keeping the men slicing and cooking it cool.

"You can see the sweat coming down hard. But it's all for a  good cause," said Dino Darbenzio, UNICO volunteer.

100% of the profits made at La Festa go back to UNICO National, the largest Italian-American service organization in the country.

We're still a week out from the festival in downtown Scranton, but when you're cooking this much porketta, you have to start early.

This year, the group is slicing up about 3,500 lbs of porketta, which might sound like a lot, but is actually less than what they're used to doing. Andrichak says that's because they don't know what to expect in terms of turnout.

"We missed last year entirely, so we're hoping that because we weren't there last year, the popularity of our sandwich, there's gonna be a lot of people coming back," said Andrichak.

While there's no doubt the patrons at La Festa missed their porketta sandwiches last year, the volunteers certainly missed their customers.

"God, so much. The people, the camaraderie, the new friendships, the new people you meet. Everything. But we're back," said Darbenzio.

La Festa Italiana runs from September 3 thru September 6.