This past weekend, downtown Scranton hosted its 40th annual Italian food and culture festival, La Festa Italiana (often shortened to just “La Festa”). Food vendors from Scranton, surrounding areas, and even other states crowded together under white tents in the Lackawanna Country Courthouse Square, which is a short walk from campus. The mouth-watering smell of pizza and pasta that wafted into campus drew me down to La Festa every day. I looked forward the most to the Italian desserts. The beautiful, intricate pastries were stacked up high in glass display cases, and I could not resist buying several of them. The nutella-infused cannoli that I picked up on a whim turned out to be the most delicious thing I ate at the festival. (As a side note, I had never had a cannoli before coming to the University of Scranton and going to La Festa! Unbelievable, I know.) The chocolate gelato, a welcome cool refreshment in the summer heat, was also very good.
In addition to various types of Italian food, La Festa also hosts some seemingly out-of-place vendors, like a Chinese food station, a barbecue station, a Greek gyro station, and a birch beer station. I have never bought from these vendors but their presence is not unwelcome, especially to those who may have dairy allergies (It’s hard to find Italian food without some type of cheese or cream). La Festa also includes live musical entertainment. My favorite act this year was Chris Macchio, an Italian tenor from New York City. His spectacular voice rose angelically over the bustle of the vendors, beckoning many to stop their eating and listen to his spellbinding performance.
My one regret is that I did not participate in the cannoli-eating contest that took place on Labor Day. Although I doubt I could have eaten more than 5 cannoli, I think I still would have had a lot of fun. I’m planning on it for next year!
If you want to know more about La Festa, you can visit its website here.