5th Annual Dunmore Summer Festival Set for August 17th through 19th

Dunmore Summer Festival

The 5th annual Dunmore Summer Festival at Sherwood Park will be held Thursday August 17 through Saturday August 19. Shown in photo are officers and members of the Sherwood Youth Association at last year’s festival.

By Emily Fedor

For months, members of the Sherwood Youth Association have been preparing for the 5th annual Dunmore Summer Festival at Sherwood Park, and finally party time is right around the corner. This year, the festivities will take place from 5 to 11 p.m. on August 17 and 18, and from 4 to 11 p.m. on August 19.

The festival got its start when the borough of Dunmore celebrated its Sesquicentennial back in the summer of 2012. Ever since, the annual event has become a tradition for many in little old Bucktown a tradition filled with good food and good friends. And the cherry on top is that all that fun benefits a wonderful cause.

“The park’s mission is, and always has been, to keep the children playing,” said Sherwood Youth President Matt Fedor. “The proceeds from the festival will be used to upkeep and improve the park’s facilities.”

Every year, it seems more folks come out to catch up with friends and enjoy a bite to eat. The festival hosts a wide array of vendors, who offer all kinds of sweet, spicy and savory foods.

Villa Maria Restaurant has been a part of the summer festival since it first began five years ago. The American-Italian style eatery is based on Washburn Street in West Scranton, but the business first got its start in little old Dunmore back in 1982.  

Owner Joe Macciocco says he likes coming back to Bucktown each year to pay a visit to those who have helped make his business a success.

“It’s phenomenal. It’s a great time of the year. They raise money for the park, and there’s something for everybody,” said Macciocco.

Members of the Sherwood Youth Association also man a stand, from which they serve up beverages, potato pancakes, wimpies, pizza fritte, fresh-cut french fries, clams and more.

This year, homemade hot wing bites will also be on their menu.

“The success of the festival and the continued improvements at the park would not be possible without the association’s hard-working and faithful members, said Fedor.”  

Members of Keystone UNICO, the Dunmore High School Crimson Company and other non-profit organizations will also be part of the festival.

Another big part of the annual event is the musical entertainment. This year’s line-up features two new-comers and one returning act, who will take the stage at 7 p.m. each night.

Tony Bouselli, Mike Bertha and Dave Arneli make up the band known as Take 3. Together, the rock and roll trio will open the festival on Thursday, August 17.

On Friday, August 18, the Luongo Brothers Band will take the Show Mobile stage. The band features Pat and Nick Luongo, who are founding members of another area band called The Poets, as well as Alan Shields and Rich Marmo. They play a variety of hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The Fabulous Fortunes will return to the Dunmore Summer Festival for the fifth year to close out the festival on Saturday, August 19. The rock group has been performing for decades in Dunmore and beyond.

The Dunmore High School cheerleaders and marching units will also make an appearance at the festival on Friday, and gymnasts with the United Sports Academy will perform Saturday.

“There will also be a bounce house, horseback riding, face painting and lots of games for the kids,” said Fedor. “We hope the community comes out to support our festival and the park.”

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Money Matters: Save on Your Summer Road Trip Adventure

road-trip

By Nathaniel Sillin

Are you packing up your car and hitting the road before this summer ends? You’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by AAA, road trips are the most popular type of vacation for families in the U.S. in 2017. In fact, 10 percent more families are expected to take road trips this year than last.

From driving to the tip of Cape Cod, to seeing the Great Lakes all the way to a drive through the Yosemite Valley in California, there are limitless ways to explore on the road. Whether you’re going to visit family or taking off on an epic adventure, a road trip can be a great way to make travel about the journey rather than the destination.

Before you hit the road, make sure your car can handle the trip. Before you pack up your car, it’s a good idea to take your car to a mechanic and ensure that it’s ready for the drive. Having your car inspected and serviced by a mechanic before a road trip can be a worthwhile investment that could both save you money and prevent an untimely breakdown. Looking into a rental car is an alternative you may want to consider if you’re hoping to avoid wear and tear that might depreciate your car’s value. Consider your options carefully and choose what makes most financial sense for you.

Bumps24-2Pack for bumps along the way. A flat tire or dead battery can put a serious damper on your road trip, especially if you’re not prepared. Keeping a spare tire in your car and checking your tire pressure and tread should be on your pre-trip checklist. Along with your bags, bring a few items for preventive maintenance measures on the road. Having jumper cables, coolant and engine oil handy can save you time and money.

Map out your trip ahead of time. While just jumping in the car and driving without a set destination can be an enticing idea, the spontaneity will likely result in more expenses. Knowing when and where you’ll stop ahead of time, especially for hotels and outings, will help you stick to a budget. If you still crave the more adventurous aspects of a road trip, you can make a general plan for your major excursions and routes, while stopping for unexpected attractions and views as you go.

Comparison shop to keep hotel prices under control. Booking ahead of time and using comparison shopping websites will save you from driving around to find the best hotel deal when you’re already tired from a long drive. If you do have to book last-minute, consider using hotel coupon books, hotel-booking apps, group coupon sites or reward points to save a little more. Camping could be another alternative to booking a hotel, which can be particularly cheap if you already have gear like tents and sleeping bags.

Managing your mileage could add up to major savings. Though fuel prices may generally be down, the cost of filling up your tank can still add up. To make this cost more manageable, you can take advantage of apps that help you find the best gas prices i360bc8585c816b163e56e04354330912xn your area. In certain cases, you may also want to consider renting a more fuel-efficient car. You can save even more by mapping your trip ahead of time to avoid road tollways and construction that might slow you down.

Keep kids entertained to avoid unnecessary stops. Kids tend to get antsy in the back seat, which can lead to more frequent stops and a few impulse buys if you’re not prepared. Packing snacks and meals ahead of time can help you avoid making extra purchases at the gas station, and will often be cheaper.

Also have a plan for keeping your kids entertained. Let them choose a few activates ahead of time, like preparing a road trip playlist or making a game like road trip bingo with sights you’ll be seeing along the way. If you have a tablet or phone, downloading free games, podcasts or movies can be another great option.

Protect your home while you are away. One other way to save on your road trip is to ensure that your home is protected while you’re gone. If you can, ask a trusted neighbor, friend or family member to keep an eye on your house. If you can’t find someone to help, you can call US Postal Service to hold your mail while you’re away. Double check that you’ve locked all doors and windows, including the garage door, and that you’ve set your alarms and put your lights on a timer.

Bottom line: Road trips can be an adventurous and inexpensive way to see the country, but costs can add up if you’re underprepared. Planning your stops and packing to anticipate your needs could help you enjoy the ride rather than worry about the expenses.

Dunmore Freedom Summer Baseball League looking to expand

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore’s Charlie Ehnot is a baseball lifer as a leader and coach.

The Dunmore native coached in the Dunmore Little and Teener Leagues for 20 years.

He went on to coach 10 years in the Collegiate Summer Baseball League (CSBL), which for the past two years is known as the Dunmore Freedom Baseball League.

Ehnot is the commissioner of the Dunmore Freedom League. The games are played in the summer, mostly at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.

Teams play a 20-25 game schedule followed by playoffs. It is highly competitive, hard ball.

You can play in the Dunmore Freedom League from age 17 on up. There is no maximum age limit as long as the player can compete at a high level. There are no boundaries. A player, if competitive enough, can come from anywhere to play.

Most of the players are in the 18-29 age range, but there are exceptions. You can be in your 30s and 40s and play if you can still compete at a high level.

Ehnot, always enthusiastic about the game of baseball, coached his three sons Jerry, Chas, and Marc in the Dunmore Little and Teener Leagues over a 20-year period.

“After they all graduated high school,” Ehnot said, “there were no summer leagues for them to play in and keep in shape. There was nothing for them to do afterwards. I wanted them to stay in shape and play. And I wanted the same for other kids.”

And so Ehnot was instrumental in forming the Collegiate Summer Baseball League (CSBL) which initially thrived with at least 10 teams.

“Kids and young adults got the chance to play competitive baseball in the summer.”

And all three of his sons played in the league. He coached them once again. Chas Ehnot still plays in the league.

Ehnot coached the Dunmore entry in the CSBL for 10 years before staying on as commissioner of the league. Mark Simko, a former player who still sometimes suits up for a game, is the current manager of the team.

Simko was strictly a player for eight years in the league. His brother Brian “Dirt” Simko played 10 years.

Dunmore, North Scranton, Honesdale and Hazleton are among the teams who have participated in the past couple seasons.

And it is solid, hard-nosed, competitive summer collegiate baseball. Some of the very best players in the area perform in the league.

Some of the prominent players who played in the past include former University of Scranton third baseman-shortstop Anthony Duchnowski, former Fordham outfielder-catcher Jackie Loftus, and former local stars such as shortstop Alex Terrery and catcher Chris Rinaldi.

“We are hoping to expand to more than four teams,” said Ehnot. “We would love to expand to six to eight teams. Old Forge might field a team in the league this season. If there are any teams or players out there, we would love to get them here to play. It is competitive, summer collegiate style baseball. Most of the games are played at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.”

Originally, there were teams from Jessup, Old Forge, Carbondale, Keystone College and Penn State Worthington in the league. Ehnot would like to see the Dunmore Freedom League get back to that level again.

“My goal is to keep the league alive and well and to have more teams. It keeps the kids fresh for fall college baseball. It keeps all the college kids active.

“And you can keep playing in the Dunmore Freedom League beyond the college years. But you have to be good.”

The Dunmore Freedom League will begin in late May. Games, including playoffs, will be played till mid August for a low cost fee of about $100 which is used basically to pay umpires.

The CSBL initially had a lot of publicity with box scores appearing in the Scranton Times-Tribune. Ehnot is hoping to regain similar publicity from local newspapers, including the Scranton Times-Tribune, for the league and its players.

If you are 17 or older and love fast-pitch, competitive summer collegiate style baseball, then the Dunmore Freedom League is the place to play. There is no maximum age limit and no boundaries.

Any player or team interested in playing in the Dunmore Freedom League, may contact Charlie Ehnot at 570-479-2289 or dunmorefreedomleague@gmail.com.

Play Ball!

La Festa Italiana Celebrates 40th Year

As La Festa Italiana celebrates its 40th year, the annual end-of-summer festival in downtown Scranton is expanding its schedule by opening on Friday evening for the very first time.

La Festa take place over Labor Day weekendFriday through Monday, Septe. 4 – 7on the Courthouse Square in the heart of the city. The event hours are: Friday, 4-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. As usual, more than 80 vendors will be offering great Italian food, and continuous live entertainment will be featured on multiple stages around the square. There is no admission charge.

This year’s event also coincides with First Friday in the city, giving visitors a full array of entertainment, culinary and cultural activities at nearby venuesall within walking distance.

La Festa’s inaugural Friday night will feature one of the festival’s most popular acts, the Duprees, who will perform on the main stage at 7 p.m.  The Duprees are well known for their romantic interpretations of beautiful love songs. They have made a career out of giving new life to old hits. Starting out in the early 60’s, in Jersey City  the Duprees were discovered by George Paxton of Coed Records and former big band leader. Impressed with their smooth vocal quality, he had them record Jo Stafford’s 50’s ballad “You Belong To Me” with big band arrangements. It was an instant national hit and the group’s first million seller.

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La Festa Italiana will conclude with a superb act that will be making its debut performance at the eventthe Bronx Wanderers. The group will hit the stage on Monday, Sept. 7, at 6:30 p.m. Consisting of a father and his two sons, the Bronx Wanderers are living the American rock n’ roll dream by performing 50’s, 60’s and 70’s hits, including a tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

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A variety of other continuous live entertainment for both young and old tastes will be presented on the Mohegan Sun Main Stage, the ShopRite Picnic Tent Stage, the Spruce Street Stage and the Children’s Stage each day.

Among the many other acts that will perform are the famous Poets, Italian tenor Christopher Macchio, comedian Uncle Floyd, Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms from Ohio, Chris DiMattio’s tribute to Sinatra, a Connie Francis tribute featuring Nikki Rasmus, Deano Noto’s tribute to Billy Joel, Los Vega New York Italian Show Band, the Italian Continentals, the Magics, Gene Dempsey Orchestra, Paul LaBelle’s Exact Change, country recording artist Dani-Elle plus many others including jugglers, magicians, street acts, cooking demonstrations, favorite local bands and dance groups.

The annual Mass in Italian will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, in St. Peter’s Cathedral, located one block from the festival site. Reverend David Cappelloni, La Festa chaplain, will be the principal celebrant. The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, will preside and give the homily. The Mass will also be televised live by CTV, Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton. Fireworks will be displayed on Sunday night.

A new tradition will also continue this year. While Coney Island has its hot dog eating contest, and Philadelphia is the site for Wing Bowl, La Festa will crown a Cannoli Eating Champion. The contest will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 7  in front of the main stage.

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In celebration of La Festa Italiana’s 40th year and the City of Scranton’s 150th birthday, two local yoga studios are hosting special events to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center. On the festival’s opening night, Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., Jaya Yoga Studio is holding “Glowga On The Square,” a one-hour eventtaught with glow stickson the grass near the fountains on the North Washington Ave. side of the Square. Then on Saturday, Sept. 5, Mind Body Spirit Co-op will lead a session at 11 a.m. on the grass. Participants are asked to meet in front of the stage on Linden St. on Courthouse Square.

For both events, all levels and children are welcome. Recommended donation is $10 per person. All proceeds will go to the Children’s Advocacy Center. Checks should be made out to La Festa Italiana; credit cards also accepted. Participants for both events are asked to register at the merchandise tent on North Washington Ave.

For more information and the complete entertainment schedule, visit www.lafestaitaliana.org.

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La Festa Italiana will literally hit the ground running with the James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 5. The race is being sponsored by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO, the Italian-American service organization, and proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Pre-registration for the race must be received by Aug. 27 by contacting Jack Trapani at (570) 878-3780 or unico5k@gmail.com by or sending the $20 entrance fee by check made out to UNICO National Scranton Chapter, P.O. Box 278, Dunmore, PA 18512. Registration will also be accepted the day of the race from 8-9:30 a.m.

Festival patrons are also invited to Lackawanna Railfest ’15, hosted by the nearby Steamtown National Historic Site Sept. 5-6. Shuttle transportation will be provided between La Festa and Steamtown. For details on Railfest, visit www.nps.gov/stea.