Annual Holy Family Parish Festa Italia begins Aug. 1

LYNN ? It’s time for the annual Holy Family Parish Festa Italia.The festival, which has been a favorite for Lynners for decades, will get under way on Friday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. and continue through Saturday evening on the church grounds on Bessom Street.Festa Italia is a fun-filled event for the entire family. Festival Chairman Rob Dandreo said there will be free entertainment each evening.On Friday evening a DJ will be spinning Italian favorites with some Golden Oldies mixed in.Saturday night the Tony Barry Band, a six piece band, which is a mainstay of the festival each year, will take the stage and perform Italian favorites.Admission to the festival is free and it includes numerous free scheduled activities that will run throughout the event including pie-eating contests, a tug-of-war and face painting. For the younger set the trackless train rides will be offered again this year and there will be a variety of inflatable rides.There is a free Tot Lot for children under the age of six, which has been very popular with the younger set every year.The festival also has games and prizes for all ages including games of chance for those 18 and older.Dandreo said the hourly “Pot of Gold” 50/50 raffle is very popular with fairgoers.One of the things that draws festival goers back every year are the authentic Italian home-cooked meals. It takes more than 200 volunteers and countless man-hours to prepare for the festival, which includes a wide array of homemade Italian foods including Calzones, meatballs, pasta dishes, pizza and delectable Italian pastries.Father Gregory Mercurio has spent hours in the kitchen with other parish members making more than 2,000 meatballs for pasta dinners and meatball subs. In addition to Italian specialties, traditional carnival foods including sausage sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and fried dough will be available. After dinner be sure to check out the Expresso Bar and its collection of pastries and desserts.The first fiesta was held in 1978 and it is the only fundraiser for the small parish but Festa Italia is about more than money ? it is about community.Father Gregory Mercurio said the first Italian Festivals were a way for the community to come together and celebrate the Saints.?The whole town came together to celebrate on the days of the Saints,” he said. ” Now it’s not just to celebrate one saint but a time for everyone to come together and to build community. Community is important and this is a lot of fun.”Festa Italia will be held on Friday, Aug. 1 from 6 pm. until 10 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 2 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. at 26 Bessom Street in Lynn, which is right off Eastern Avenue near the intersection of Essex Street.

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