Festival starting today celebrates all things Italian.
The UNICO Club of Hazleton will celebrate the area’s Italian heritage at the 10th annual Bell’ Italia Festivale today and Sunday at Hazle Twp. Community Park.
The event will feature entertainment, best meatball and pasta-eating contests, fingers and bocce ball tourneys, carnival rides, crafters and tricky trays.
There will also be a wide array of food.
Aside from UNICO’s fried dough, the menu includes pasta, pizza, barbecue, fried potato cakes, beef and ched- dar, sausage and peppers, halupki, empanadas, porchetta, pulled pork, kielbasa, pierogi, ice cream, fried Oreos, funnel cakes, Italian pastries, stromboli, fried shrimp, soups and more.
Italian residents of the Hazleton area over the age of 85 will be honored as part of the festivities.
Family heritage will also be celebrated. Families are invited to assemble for a reunion of sorts and to discuss how their family came to Hazleton from Italy.
Today’ s festivities run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Chef Lou Memorial Meatball
Contest will be held at noon.
Bocce ball play begins at 1 p.m. Players take turns rolling balls at a master ball, called a palin. Points are scored by maneuvering the larger balls as close to the
palin as possible.
Students from the DeMelfi School of Music, Faberge Follies and Sherri O’Donnell’s All That Dancin’ will entertain this afternoon.
Singer John Layton per- forms at 2 p.m. A pasta-eating contest for kids will be held at 3 p.m., followed by one for the adults. Strolling musicians Frank and Cathi will entertain with their accordions this afternoon.
Entertainer Tony Angelo will perform both days at 4 p.m.
Sunday activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a Roman Catholic Mass celebrated by the Rev. Louis Grippe.
Singer Tara Malloy Lewis will perform at 11 a.m., local singer Chris Pavlick at 11:30 and Danny Farole, the Italian troubadour, at 1 p.m. Rainbow the Clown will also be on hand Sunday afternoon.
At 2 p.m., there will be a fingers tournament. Joe Ceru llo,o ne of the club members who is organizing the event, said fingers, or morra, is a game played by two people "throwing" fingers and calling out a number they hope will match the total.
The Cellar Dwellarz, a big band-type orchestra made up of young locals, performs at 3 p.m.
The festival will end at 6 p.m. Sunday.