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Festa Italiana Returns to Peekskill

PEEKSKILL -- The city’s Italian feast will return bigger and better for a second year from August 12-14 in the downtown. Last year’s inaugural event drew thousands to Brown Street, and organizer Frank Cimino told city council members Tuesday night this year’s event would be even bigger this year, taking up the parking lots of the Paramount and the Chase Bank on Brown Street.

“The entire fair will be mixed with rides, games and vendors,” Cimino said. “My intention this year is to have people walk because any time they walk they’re going to find something new.”

The event celebrates the Feast of the Assumption, named for the city’s Roman Catholic Church, The Church of the Assumption. The feast will open as it did last year with a church procession. This year the festivities will begin early with a kickoff concert at the Paramount Center, featuring Michael Amante and comedian Gumba Johnny. The weekend will feature live performers on all three days. On Friday Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca will perform, as well as Frank Sinatra tribute artist Doug Ferony and dance rock party band Over the Top. On Saturday, party band Big Kahuna, romantic Italian tenor Michael Castaldo and traditional Italian dance band The Carozza Brothers will take the stage. On Sunday, Doo Wop and oldies favorite Dennis Dell and contemporary dance band Melillo Brothers will perform. There will also be marionette shows three times a day on Saturday and Sunday for the kids, as well as carnival rides, sand art, face painters, stilt walkers, cartoon characters and games of chance. And of course, there will be plenty of food.

“Last year I had 15 food vendors, and this year we’ll probably exceed 30,” Cimino said. “We have a number of local people Rueben’s Café and Nellie’s have joined in.”

However the feast signature event is its Tomato Sauce Wars, in which area residents compete to see has the best sauce and a chnce to take home the tomato trophy. Competitors will be judged by celebrity chefs from the New York City area. Complete contest rules can be found at www.tomatosauce wars.com. While city officials praised Cimino for all the planning he has done, he credited his staff with making the event possible.

“This isn’t just me,” Cimino said. “I have six people that are dedicated and work very hard and very diligently. They should get just as much credit as I do.”

For a full listing of the feast’s events, go to www.PeekskillFestival.com .

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